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DEA Using NSA Surveillance to Crack Down on Drug Crimes?

A new report reveals that a secretive DEA unit funnels surveillance info from gov't agencies to law enforcement -- and tells them to hide it.
 
 
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Reuters reports that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is sending surveillance information obtained by government agencies, including the NSA, to law enforcement around the country. A Special Operations Division "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."

The documents show that law enforcement agents were also directed to hide the origins of the information. F ederal agents were trained to "recreate" the investigative trail in an effort to essentially cover up where the information originated, leading many to view the raids as a direct violation of the Constitutional right to a fair trial. 

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” Harvard Law School professor Nancy Gertner  told Reuters. “It is one thing to create special rules for national security…ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

Gertner, who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011, believes the DEA program dismantles the notion of due process. In some of the leaked documents, the DEA was said to have pretended their investigations began with a routine traffic stop as opposed to a surveillance-based tip. 

 

 

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

 
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