New documents obtained by Reuters show that the Drug Enforement Administration is helping the NSA cover up government surveillance. The Special Operations Division of the DEA, otherwise known as SOD, funnels secretly-obatined information to authorities around our nation to initiate criminal investigations of American citizens. And, these aren't people suspected of terrorist plots; this DEA program targets common criminals and drug dealers. The documents obtained by Reuters indicate that agents are trained to “recreate” the source of the invesigations, to conceal how the information was originally obtained. Agents aren't just hiding these tactics from the defense attorneys representing alleged criminals, they're concealing the true source of information from prosecutors and judges as well.
According to Reuters, some experts say that this practice violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial, as it prevents those accused of a crime from accurately challenging the validity of the evidence presented against them. Former federal judge Nancy Gertner said, “It is one thing to create special rules for national security. Ordinary crime is different. It sounds like [these DEA agents] are phonying up investigations.”
Of course, the Justice Department declined to comment on the program, but DEA officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, defended the practice. They said that trying to “recreate” an investigative trail isn't just legal, it's a practice that's used “almost daily.” Once again, government officials maintain that government spying is legal, yet say nothing about the program's constitutionality.
Since the news of secret NSA surveillance programs broke, officials from the security agency have claimed that Americans are not being spyed on, and that these tactics are necessary to keep us safe. As many NSA opponents predicted, those claims have been proven false yet again. Reuters asked a former federal prosecutor about the program, and he said, “You can't game the system. You can't create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it?”
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