News / USA

    DEA Program Differs From Recent NSA Revelations

    A slide from a presentation about a secretive information-sharing program run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division (SOD) is seen in this undated photo.
    A slide from a presentation about a secretive information-sharing program run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division (SOD) is seen in this undated photo.
    Reuters
    Former spy-agency contractor Edward Snowden has caused a fierce debate over civil liberties and national security needs by disclosing details of secret U.S. government surveillance programs.

    Reuters has uncovered previously unreported details about a separate program, run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, that extends well beyond intelligence gathering.

    Its use, legal experts say, raises fundamental questions about whether the government is concealing information used to investigate and help build criminal cases against American citizens.

    The DEA program is run by a secretive unit called the Special Operations Division, or SOD.

    Here is how NSA efforts exposed by Snowden differ from the activities of the SOD.

    Purpose of the programs

    NSA: To use electronic surveillance to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation catchterrorists, the U.S. military fight wars, and the Central Intelligence Agency collectintelligence about foreign governments.

    SOD: To help the DEA and other law enforcement agents launch criminal investigations of drugdealers, money launderers and other common criminals, including Americans. The unit also handlesglobal narco-terrorism cases.Gathering of evidence NSA: Much of what the agency does remains classified, but Snowden's recent disclosures showthat NSA not only eavesdrops on foreign communications but has also created a database ofvirtually every phone call made inside the United States.

    SOD: The SOD forwards tips gleaned from NSA intercepts, wiretaps by foreign governments, court-approved domestic wiretaps and a database called DICE to federal agents and local lawenforcement officers.

    The DICE database is different from the NSA phone-records database. DICE consists of about 1 billion records, and is primarily a compilation of phone log data that islegally gathered by the DEA through subpoenas or search warrants.

    Disclosure to the accused

    NSA: Collection of domestic data by the NSA and FBI for espionage and terrorism cases is regulated by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    If prosecutors intend to use FISA orother classified evidence in court, they issue a public notice, and a judge determines whetherthe defense is entitled to review the evidence. In a court filing last week, prosecutors said they will now notify defendants whenever the NSA phone-records database is used during aninvestigation.

    SOD: A document reviewed by Reuters shows that federal drug agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to conceal the SOD's involvement.  Defense attorneys, former prosecutorsand judges say the practice prevents defendants from even knowing about evidence that might beexculpatory.

    They say it circumvents court procedures for weighing whether sensitive, classifiedor FISA evidence must be disclosed to a defendant.Oversight NSA: Congressional leaders and intelligence committee members are briefed on the NSA'sclassified programs.

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviews and approves warrantsfor domestic eavesdropping.SOD: DEA officials who oversee the unit say the information sent to law enforcementauthorities was obtained through subpoena, court order and other legal means.

    A DEA spokesmansaid members of Congress "have been briefed over the years about SOD programs and successes." This includes a 2011 letter to the Senate describing the DICE database. But the spokesman saidhe didn't know whether lawmakers have been briefed on how tips are being used in domestic criminal cases.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John Hansen from: Chicago
    August 05, 2013 3:47 PM
    This is a fundamental subversion of justice and denial of due process. What more needs to be said?

    by: Larry from: Texas
    August 05, 2013 3:38 PM
    Great story .... but the number of typos and run together words is very unprofessional!

    by: wavettore from: USA
    August 05, 2013 1:56 PM
    How could the classified information be protected for the safety of one Country and also made sure that the citizens of that same Country are not the target of that top secret, like in the 9/11 false flag attack for example? Should State secrets exist? If State secrets were to be eliminated only in a certain Country how could this Country then protect itself? For example, if the United States were to divulge every secret then how could they do it without the risk of remaining victims of their same disclosed secrets? Is it possible to balance the power between secret State Agencies and the right to know of every citizen?

    Secret State Agencies have always been the stations to enroll new "initiated" and are still today the alcoves where the darkest ideas have been plotted in the name of a “Greater Good”. To accept that such relevant secrecy is reserved for only a few individuals is to also accept that non governmental secret societies will continue to flourish behind closed doors and to advance their agenda while they remain well hidden from the eye of the unaware citizen. Any head of secret service should never become president of a Country, like in the cases of Bush or Putin. To know everything about everyone is a weapon like no others and that is also the shortest course for a Democracy to be turned into a Dictatorship. The secret State Agencies will be those to pave the way for a New World Order. The current system of government seems to offer no other alternative.
    And from here is the need for a total renewal in the concept of government.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.