From the War on Terror to the War on Everything

Me, when the NSA story broke:

we know that these powers, especially when they lurk in secret, only have a tendency to expand. Powers intended for terrorism rapidly extend to drugs (which often involve foreign agents) and are then extended to ordinary crime. Think about the Constitution-shredding tactics used in the War on Drugs — asset forfeiture, for example — and how they been extended beyond the War on Drugs. Once you give our government a hammer, they will get the courts to rule that everything is a nail.

Reuters today:

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.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

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, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

You see that? If Reuters’ reporting is accurate, they’re being fed data from War on Terror sources, then using that to launch their investigations, after which they cover up their tracks. They then go into court and perjure themselves claiming that the investigation originated elsewhere. While technically no information is presented that violates exclusionary rules, the privacy of Americans is thoroughly and systematically gutted.

I’m awaiting further reporting on this subject. But if Reuters’ account is born out, this is an extremely serious scandal.

Update: More from the NYT. The agencies are clamoring for NSA data.

Comments are closed.

  1. InsipiD

    They then go into court and perjure themselves claiming that the investigation originated elsewhere.

    This will be dismissed as a justifiable crime compared to whatever happened. These tramplings of the constitution are always under the excuses of ends justifying the means.

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  2. Section8

    I almost wish this all happened under Bush. At least there would be outrage by most Americans. Unfortunately the base that claims to be for civilian rights will yet again let this slide under this bunch. And of course our side (the libertarian wing, not the GOP powerbrokers as they couldn’t give a shit either) are just anti government extremists whenever we bring up that evil Constitution, which of course was drafted by WHITE racist slave owners, thereby nullifying any protection it gives to its citizens. I’ll have to give the left credit, the propaganda campaign over the last few years was quite effective. now we get to reap the rewards I guess.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    I almost wish this all happened under Bush.

    Well, it went on under Bush, so maybe that’s our in.

    It’s pretty insane how quickly the Democratic devotion to civil liberties crumbled once OBama was in.

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  4. Seattle Outcast

    So, this is “phony scandal” #25, or #26?

    Remember, this is the most honest and open administration ever. Just ask President Jarrett Obama, or her his assclown propaganda minister Carney, they’ll make sure you know that none of these things are really “scandals”, maybe not even happening at all….

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  5. TxAg94

    I remember reading the very comment you made and thinking that it wasn’t “going” to happen, it “was” happening and we just didn’t know it yet. Of course, if oyu have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear…

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  6. TxAg94

    From the Times article:

    Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.

    The tone of the article almost reads like a complaint that the requirements to get the information are too demanding. The tone is not, as it should be, that X, Y and Z agencies are trying to get their hands on this illegally obtained information to make each and every person an on-demand criminal.

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