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Monday, August 5, 2013

NSA Shares Information With DEA

Did the FISA courts sign off on allowing the NSA to share information with the DEA? Naturally we will be told that it wasn't necessary as we were told that there were strict rules in place to prevent the sharing of data. So how is busting drug dealers germane to national security? This may have been a step too far. Anyone who has been convicted of dealing drugs where the investigation was begun by an NSA intercept presumably will be able to sue not only to have his case dismissed but possible damages with the right of discovery. As Reuters reports:
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.
"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.
"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."
The DEA runs a secret Special Operations Division, or SOD which partners with two dozen agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, and DHS. "Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The illegal and unconstitutional component of the prosecution is a concept called parallel construction where agents work backwards from the arrest to create a phony evidence trail instead of revealing how the investigation began. If for instance, NSA tipped DEA off with an intercept DEA would proceed with the case but state it began with a routine traffic stop or an unnamed tip or some other falsehood.
So if NSA shares information with DEA does it stop there? Does it also share it with the IRS that in turn shares it illegally with the FEC? How will the administration and its bipartisan defenders in Congress spin this after telling the public that NSA operated under strict oversight? I think we can expect more attempts by Congressman Amash and others to kill NSA funding and it may go well beyond the collection of phone metadata.

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