Reuters revealed a shocking story yesterday: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a Sooper Seekrit division with access to NSA’s data, intercepts and wiretaps it uses to tip off local cops to suspected drug activity. The cops, knowing they can never reveal the source of their information, engineer a ruse—like a routine traffic stop—to make the investigation seem otherwise legitimate. A former federal agent who received such tips 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.
The no-longer-secret DEA unit is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. It is comprised of two dozen partner agencies, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Created in 1994 to
combat Latin American drug cartels cover up the U.S. government’s shenanigans in Central and South America, it now assists local police in launching criminal investigations of Americans.
These cases almost never have anything to do with terrorism or national security, of course. But fortunately for us, we are now safe from weed dealers.
“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 is? Citation needed, Nancy.
Did anyone, anywhere, seriously believe that this massive domestic surveillance infrastructure (that doesn’t even work) would only ever be used to Keep Us Safe™ from The Terrorists™? I mean anyone other than the DC pundit class, the mainstream media, Peter Singer, and right-wing authoritarians who never met a panty-sniffer they didn’t like. Once we vested the government with unchecked, unconstitutional powers
for the purpose of with the excuse of fighting terrorism, what possible argument could anyone make against turning it on ordinary citizens? It hardly takes a genius (or a cynic) to figure this shit out. It’s bloody fucking obvious from, you know, all of history — including the recent history of the United States. This is what governments do whenever they can get away with it: entrench their own power and suppress dissent. Always.
Here are a few hilarious quips from the Reuters article:
“That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”
Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”
Hahaha. “Unconstitutional.” As if that’s a thing.
“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?”
OMFGLOL! How about this one:
Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful – one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent.
40% of the tips are inaccurate? What could possibly go wrong?
I, for one, cannot wait until real-time cell phone location data is put to use targeting jaywalkers and drone bombing those motherfuckers the second they step off the curb. Enemy combatants, the lot of ’em.