A Peek Inside the DEA Manual - The Terrifying Way Law Enforcement is Lying to Us
Drug Enforcement Agency training documents reveal how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of intelligence gathering methods, reports MuckRock.com, a website that files freedom of information requests on behalf of its users.
The DEA practices mirror a common dilemma among domestic law enforcement agencies: Analysts have access to unprecedented streams of classified information that might prove useful to investigators, but entering classified evidence in court risks disclosing those sensitive surveillance methods to the world, which would either end up halting the program due to public outcry or undermining their usefulness through greater awareness.
The agency uses a deceptive technique called "parallel construction" to obscure the controversial methods by which it gathers data on drug offenders, because such revelations could jeapordize future surveillance efforts if a court ruled them unconstitutional. A secretive unit within the DEA known as the "Special Operations Division" (SOD) specializes in gathering information on defendants through cavalier means (including data-sharing with the NSA), and then helps investigators recreate information trails so evidence appears to have come from "normal investigative techniques."
The new documents released to MuckRock reveal "DEA trainers routinely teach the finer points of parallel construction to field agents and analysts across the country, not just within the SOD" or the DEA.
In addition to concerns over constitutionality, the documents urge local law enforcement to hide their surveillance methods because "Americans don't like [them.]"
The documents from the DEA can be read in full here.