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Punishing Illicit Spying

There was quite a scandal over the weekend when the New England Patriots were caught using sideline video to steal signals during a game against the N

There was quite a scandal over the weekend when the New England Patriots were caught using sideline video to steal signals during a game against the New York Jets. It didn’t affect the outcome — the spying was discovered early on, and the Patriots won by a wide margin — but this kind of illicit surveillance drew a stiff penalty from the NFL.

The National Football League fined New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick $500,000 yesterday, and the team will forfeit its first-round draft pick in 2008 if it makes the playoffs, for violating league rules Sunday when a Patriots staff member was discovered videotaping signals by Jets coaches during the season opener at the Meadowlands.

The Patriots will be fined $250,000. If they fail to make the playoffs, they will forfeit their second- and third-round picks in 2008.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) had a very clever response to all of this.

Democratic Presidential candidate Governor Bill Richardson, campaigning today in Iowa, issued the following statement regarding the recent “spying” incident involving the National Football League’s New England Patriots:

“The President has been allowed to spy on Americans without a warrant, and our U.S. Senate is letting it continue. You know something is wrong when the New England Patriots face stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

Good point.

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