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DEA's "Cover Up Program" Revealed: More Troubling Than Pervasive NSA Surveillance?

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Undated documents discovered by Reuters show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," is one law professor's response to the fact that a secretive DEA unit is funneling wiretap, informant, and telephone database information to authorities across the nation in order to launch investigations of Americans (targeting common criminals, primarily drug dealers), "It is one thing to create special rules for national security, ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

Agents are instructed to use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by [the secret DEA source]," and as the documents reveal - "remember that the utilization of [data] cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function."

Stunningly, after an arrest was made, agents then created a "parallel construction" to suggest the information secretly gathered was stumbled up during the course of the investigation - "It's just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean." One recently retired federal gent noted, "It was an amazing tool; our big fear was that it wouldn't stay secret."

Via Reuters,

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

 

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The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

 

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner,... "It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

 

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"Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD."

 

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A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

 

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After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as "parallel construction."

 

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"You can't game the system," said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. "You can't create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it?"

 

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"We use it to connect the dots," the official said.

 

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"They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American," the senior law enforcement official said.

 

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"It was an amazing tool," said one recently retired federal agent. "Our big fear was that it wouldn't stay secret."

 


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