Why I subscribe to the Washington Post, despite its flaws. Brian Fung, “The NSA is giving your phone records to the DEA. And the DEA is covering it up.”
A day after we learned of a draining turf battle between the NSA and other law enforcement agencies over bulk surveillance data, it now appears that those same agencies are working together to cover up when those data get shared.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been the recipient of multiple tips from the NSA. DEA officials in a highly secret office called the Special Operations Division are assigned to handle these incoming tips, according to Reuters. Tips from the NSA are added to a DEA database that includes “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records.” This is problematic because it appears to break down the barrier between foreign counterterrorism investigations and ordinary domestic criminal investigations.
Because the SOD’s work is classified, DEA cases that began as NSA leads can’t be seen to have originated from a NSA source.
So what does the DEA do? It makes up the story of how the agency really came to the case in a process known as “parallel construction.” …
Of course, we will be piously reminded, if you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about it. Or, as St. Reagan’s Attorney General once said, “… [T]he thing is, you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime. That’s contradictory. If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”