Parallel Construction

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Concept.png Parallel Construction 
Lying about the origins of a prosecution, so as to hide its true purposes or the fact that it was carried out illegally.

Parallel Construction is the process of hiding the real course of an investigation by fabricating an alternative way that it might have happened. This has no doubt been carried out on an ad hoc basis for a long time, but is increasingly being used with mass surveillance data in a routine fashion. Where information arises from illegally gained information, and/or was carried out for deep political purposes which the perpetrators wish to prevent being disclosed in court, parallel construction provides one simple way to do that.


The DEA's Special Operations Division trains agents in parallel construction.

“A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.”
John Shiffman,  Kristina Cooke (5 August 2013)  [1]


The Register observed that the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 by prevents evidence being revealed or questioned in court, effectively opens the door to parallel construction with evidence obtained through mass surveillance under the act.[2]



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