DEA Needs to Come Clean on Surveillance Laundering: EFF

Legal
DEA Needs to Come Clean on Surveillance Laundering: EFF
Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you.
 
Just ask the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which on Tuesday joined the American Civil Liberties Union in asking the government to reveal just how its pervasive electronic surveillance programs are being used to fight the drug war against Americans inside the United States.
 
As EFF notes: "In June, details of the NSA's bulk telephone records collection program was published by The Guardian. Then in August, Reuters reported about the NSA's practice of funneling information to the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division ("SOD"). In turn, the DEA and SOD would use the information to generate its own independent leads and then deliberately omit the NSA's involvement in reports and affidavits, effectively "laundering" the intelligence. Then, in September, the New York Times reported that DEA agents had direct access into AT&T's database known as "Hemisphere" that contained millions of records about phone calls dating back to 1987. Like SOD, agents are deliberately instructed to omit referencing the Hemisphere program in court documents."
 
That means the government essentially committed perjury - lied in court about the origin of evidence - to build thousands of federal and state drug trafficking cases. In response, the ACLU and the EFF have filed amicus briefs in one such case asking the government to be honest about where its drug leads came from.
 
"The case involves 20 co-defendants charged with transporting and distributing drugs from San Francisco to Seattle," EFF states. "During the investigation, the government obtained records on over 700,000 phone calls made by more than 600 different phone numbers, including records such as numbers dialed or dialing in, the date, time and duration of the calls, and in some cases location information. Yet despite the sheer volume of calls at issue, the government produced to the defense attorneys court orders authorizing collection on only 52 of these phone numbers. The enormous discrepancy between the call data actually collected and the court orders authorizing the collection raises serious questions about whether the government took advantage of the controversial surveillance programs recently leaked to the press."
 
"In our amicus brief, we ask a federal district court to order the government to provide more information about how it potentially used these surveillance programs in criminal cases."
 
Lying about evidence sources violates a defendant's Fifth Amendment rights, EFF states, and prevents them from challenging the evidence in court.