I find this to be incredibly concerning. More so than the original leaks from Snowden or The Guardian. In a lot of respects I knew what was going on from paying attention and reading between the lines. The fact is it doesn’t matter if it is the NSA OR GCHQ or anyone of the other “Five Eyes” partners who are part of Echelon… You and I and everyone is being spied upon. The idea that the DEA would have officers act as if it was coincidence you got pulled over is very very alarming. The Surveillance in 1984 seems mild compared to what is actually taking place. For reasons that mystify me they were not able to have a good grasp on the recent Al-Qaeda jail breaks from 3 different locations. Over a thousands prisoners were freed!! Isn’t that exactly the type of thing the NSA is trying to convince you that it has been able to stop? I am sorry to say that that stopping Al-Qaeda takes a back seat to the continued expansion of the total police and surveillance state.
The fact that Federal Agents were told to in effect lie and be deceitful as a part of an organized policy is downright scary.
WASHINGTON (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.
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.
“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.”
THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION
The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.
Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.
Isn’t a well known fact the War on Drugs has been a disaster? Hasn’t it failed on so many levels?
More Guardian revelations
US embassies in the Middle East are to remain closed for the rest of the week as supporters of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance powers used the unspecified terror alert to bolster the case against reining in the controversial measures.
A privacy group questioned the publicity given to the latest alert after the State Department announced on Sunday evening that the number of embassies and consulates closed “out of an abundance of caution”
would be increased, with some remaining shut for up to a week.
It follows the alleged interception of unspecified al-Qaida terror threats in Yemen, which intelligence committee members in Congress have been told were collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Most criticism of the NSA following revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden has focused on its domestic surveillance powers under section 215 of the Patriot Act, but the NSA’s supporters seized on the terror intercepts as a way to defend the beleaguered agency from criticism of this bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, which is unlikely to have played any role in the current al-Qaida intercepts.
Rebublican senator Saxby Chambliss said the NSA had identified threats that were the most serious for years and akin to levels of “terrorist chatter” picked up before 9/11.
“These [NSA] programs are controversial, we understand that,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “But they are also very important … If we did not have these programs, then we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys.”
Senator Lindsey Graham added: “To the members of Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great. If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you’re putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing.”
It is more of a continued program to scare people into accepting the Surveillance state. It is clear as glass. Once again the majority of the public is being manipulated like they are pawns..
But the widespread linking of the latest terror alerts with the debate over the domestic powers of the NSA has begun to raise concern among privacy campaigners, who fear ulterior political motives.
Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said: “The NSA’s choice to publish these threats at this time perpetuates a culture of fear and unquestioning deference to surveillance in the United States.”
News of the fresh terror alert came as Congress looked increasingly likely to pursue fresh attempts to limit the NSA’s domestic powers when it returns in September.
“The NSA takes in threat information every day. You have to ask, why now? What makes this information different?” added Stepanovich.
“Too much of what we hear from the government about surveillance is either speculation or sweeping assertions that lack corroboration. The question isn’t if these programs used by this NSA can find legitimate threats, it’s if the same threats couldn’t be discovered in a less invasive manner. This situation fails to justify the NSA’s unchecked access to our personal information.”
I believe in coincidence.. Not when it comes to things like this. This is a well thought out aspect of policy.