DEA covertly uses NSA information to prosecute crime
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Recent national security leaks have focused on NSA
mass surveillance aimed at stopping acts of terrorism. But law enforcement may be
secretly using information from intelligence agencies to prosecute organized crime.
A special unit of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has allegedly gleaned
information from National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs to prosecute
drug traffickers and organized crime, in a possible demonstration of growing
cooperation between normal law enforcement and the US national security
According to reporting by the Reuters news agency, the DEA’s Special Operations
Division (SOD) sanitizes classified information for use by prosecutors in the US judicial
system. But investigators are told to cover up the SOD’s footprint on cases through a
technique called “parallel reconstruction.” The technique fakes the origins of sensitive
information, giving the impression that SOD tips come from a different source.
The practice has raised concern that defendants are being denied basic constitutional
rights to review the evidence against them. Some civil libertarians are also worried
that SOD activities demonstrate an expansion of the national security and intelligence
agencies’ involvement in the normal criminal justice system.
The NSA has openly acknowledged that it cooperates with law enforcement. But the
agency has denied that law enforcement has access to it database of phone records,
according to Reuters.
“This coordination frequently includes sanitizing classified information so that it can be
passed to personnel at lower clearance levels in order to meet their operational
requirements,” the NSA wrote in a statement published by Reuters.
“If the Intelligence Community collects information pursuant to a valid foreign
intelligence tasking that is recognized as being evidence of a crime, the intelligence
community can disseminate that information to law enforcement, as appropriate.”
Source: Deutsche Welle