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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs