DOJ probing claims U.S. drug agency 'collaborated' with NSA on intelligence

DOJ probing claims U.S. drug agency 'collaborated' with NSA on intelligence

Summary: The U.S. Justice Dept. said it was "looking into the issues" raised by an Reuters story, that one of its law enforcement agencies collaborated with the NSA to crack down on alleged drug criminals.

If the Drug Enforcement Administration is found to have broken the rules by acquiring intelligence by the National Security Agency, the Justice Dept. may have to clean out its own house. (Image: Justice Dept.)

A day after Reuters reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was using tip-offs and intelligence collected by the National Security Agency (NSA) to crack down on suspected drug-related criminals, the U.S. government said it will investigate.

In response to The Guardian on Tuesday, the Justice Department said it was "looking into the issues raised by this story," but declined to comment further.

This ties in with comments made by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in the afternoon briefing.

Though the data used to crack down on suspected criminals, reported the Reuters news agency on Monday, DEA agents are trained to "recreate" the origin of the intelligence. The report said this is to mask the true source from the courts, which as a matter of public record could have blown the lid on the whole intelligence collaboration operation. 

Lawyers speaking to Reuters for the piece said these actions could violate a defendant's constitutional rights to a fair trial.

The tips the agency received originally came from the NSA, according to the reports, specifically from its Special Operations Division (SOD). The division was first named in June when revelations about the NSA's surveillance program first came to light. The SOD's remit is understood to collect intelligence on non-U.S. persons relating to national security, not drug crimes.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said on Wednesday that this so-called practice of "parallel construction" as "intelligence laundering," and dubbed tactics as deceptive and dishonest.

ZDNet put in calls to the DEA (at the Justice Dept.) but did not hear back outside U.S. business hours at the time of writing.

Topics: Security, Government US

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  • DOJ huh?

    That's like to the fox to investigate the chicken coup!
  • IRSNext

    finaly no more deficit !
  • 'Bout time

    Glad to hear this! Sick and tired of hearing about drug deals gone bad, Find them and get them off the streets. If you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. Sick of hearing about criminals rights. They have no respect for mine, why should I care about them. Way to ensure having a fair trial - don't do anything that would get you arrested.
    • 'Bout JUSTICE

      "When tyranny is abroad, SUBMISSION is the crime." -Rev Andrew Eliot, 1765
    • Please, please realize

      that violence associated with drug use, as well as drug use as a whole, PLUMMETS in nation states where illicit substances have been decriminalized. See Portugal, drug use down 50% in 10 years since decriminalizing all illicit substances in 2001 (report from 2011).

      Surely this makes sense to you? Stop treating drug users like criminals (because they aren't), and treat them as a societal ill. Reform and assistance, not only does it cost MUCH less, but it also is proven much more effective than punishment.
  • This is pointless...

    because the IRS, DOJ, DHS, EPA, TSA, FBI, NSA, CIA, the White House and the Senate are all goose-stepping to the same drumbeat. Frighteningly enough, the only real opponent inside the Beltway to all this abuse of the Constitution is a handful of mostly spineless Republicans. To put it mildly, I am not optimistic.