Reuters is out with a huge new article about spying, but this time the agency is the Drug Enforcement Agency:
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 Special Operations Division, or SOD, was organized in 1994 to fight Latin America drug cartels. It consisted of a few dozen people from multiple agencies and has now grown to hundreds of agents.
The fact that they are concealing information from even lawyers and judges should raise an eyebrow, but once you read down further, you get a sense of why:
One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.
“I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.
So the information was obtained through the NSA. Now why conceal that, unless that information was obtained illegally?
This story is much bigger than anything Glenn Greenwald has produced. If you look at all of Greenwald’s articles, they specifically say that the agencies need a warrant to tap calls of U.S. citizens, even from the secretive, kangaroo court that is FISA. But this article leaves us to believe that either there are intercepts without warrants being used, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, or that the grounds for the warrants can be enough to question the legality of them. Either way, we have a huge problem here.
Since Congress is wanting to investigate the NSA stuff, I hope they decide to bring this into the investigative fold. The read on this article is that all the protections our leaders of both the past and present administration have given us in regards to our rights is false. That poses a serious problem for our democracy.