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DEA covertly uses NSA information to prosecute crime



by Joseph Earnest  September 4, 2013


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 establishment.

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."                                               Add Comments>>

Source: Deutsche Welle









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