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DEA spying on Americans

This isn’t a real surprise, but it’s still a big story.

U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.

It turns out the DEA was the worst offender…

The DEA used its data collection extensively and in ways that the NSA is now prohibited from doing. Agents gathered the records without court approval, searched them more often in a day than the spy agency does in a year and automatically linked the numbers the agency gathered to large electronic collections of investigative reports, domestic call records accumulated by its agents and intelligence data from overseas.

And it took Edward Snowden to stop the program.

Holder halted the data collection in September 2013 amid the fallout from Snowden’s revelations about other surveillance programs.

And, of course, they knew it wasn’t right.

To keep the program secret, the DEA sought not to use the information as evidence in criminal prosecutions or in its justification for warrants or other searches.

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31 comments to DEA spying on Americans

  • jean valjean

    DEA scandal
    “All told, the picture that emerges is an out-of-control agency, run amok, literally in bed with organized crime, a perfect symbol for the corruption and impunity inherent in the war on drugs.”

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/dea-sex-scandal-window-drug-war-corruption-impunity

  • claygooding

    A 2 inch “D” lazered on their foreheads so they can be shunned by every American as they have attempted to have America shun marijuana users through lies and propaganda for the last 5 decades.
    Every former Admin and staff member,,,and dig Nixon up and burn his bones.

  • Frank W.

    Currently watching CSpan3, where Commissioner Kerlikowske is happily crowing about “border security”.He’s not saying how many terrorists they caught sneaking into Mexico but surely agents must have found,er, something to justify the billions we spend.

  • Servetus

    What we know of the DEA so far is due only to the information that was recorded by someone in the normal course of duties. Telephone information has been available to the police without a warrant for some time, along with credit records. What doesn’t get addressed are some real scandals. Some of these scandals may briefly float to the surface, and then mysteriously sink into obscurity.

    During the presidency of G. W. H. Bush and the militant policing of Darryl Gates, a small piece appeared on the back pages of a Southern California newspaper in which an un-named, local public defender claimed to have uncovered evidence indicating thousands of warrantless phone taps had occurred involving drug suspects in LA county. There was no follow up of the accusation.

    In a more obscure story, it’s said that during the late 60s era of the Black Panthers, a railway car was abandoned for several days on a siding in a South Central Los Angeles rail yard. Unattended railcars are taboo in this location. The cars get broken into, as this one did. The boxcar was allegedly filled to capacity with cases of handguns, all of which presumably ended up being distributed throughout local black neighborhoods. Questions remain among those who know about the incident: was the railcar abandonment deliberate? Did certain DEA or CIA agents believe that by arming black neighborhoods with handguns, the communities would explode with violence and murder? If so, it would make the LA railcar scheme a bigger news story than the ATF’s recent act of running guns to Mexico, likely done on behalf of DEA agents who believed it would accelerate drug war homicides happening south of the border. Again, there’s been no discernable news investigation or follow up of the railcar handgun theft.

    • NorCalNative

      Alan, how are things with you? I’ve been drooling over “MEDICINE FLOWER” since first seeing it and I finally “pulled-the-trigger” and purchased a 7.88 x 12 framed version this morning.

      Couch-taters if you love the very special kind of eye-candy of BUD PORN, check out Alan’s website and prepare to be impressed.

      As a hobby/medical cannabis cultivator I’ve grown and seen many plants over the years. Ed Rosenthal’s 4-volume set of cannabis varieties the Big Book of Buds is filled with great cannabis photography.

      MEDICINE FLOWER kicks ass on anything I’ve ever seen in person, Ed Rosenthal books, Whore-Hey Cervantes (Jorge) books, the internet, etc..

      Why is she so special? It’s ALL about the stigmas, those wonderful little pollen seeking hairs on cannabis flowers. Medicine Flower has the normal stigma progression of “white-to-brown” but it also has YELLOW and PINK and PURPLE stigmas! I’ve seen pictures of plants over the years with some interesting and different stigma colors other than the common white-to-brown but NEVER have I seen a plant with MULTIPLE stigma colors.

      Alan, if you have knowledge of the genetics or strain history of this plant I’d LOVE to know the backstory. This plant is a “RARE” beauty. Oregon weed is cool!

      • http://fineartamerica.com/featured/medicine-flower-allan-erickson.html

        make a feller *blush*…

        I will of course be shooting the plants again this year, will be grown in-ground after July 1! In fact first set of seeds germinating now. That strain is a So OR variety (sativa dom) unofficially named Sajo99 – the grower I rec’d the seeds from started growing it in 1999 and named it for longtime OR activist John Sajo. Somewhere I have pollen from OR strains from mid ’80s (MX, S1, S2) and if I’m real good at hiding shit from myself I have pollen from one Thai plant I grew down in Santa Maria over 2 seasons (no real winter on Central Coast but great southern sun) tucked away.

  • Having a federal organization dedicated to maintaining prohibition in America is destructive and absurd. Its like having our government appoint themselves to “the godfather” position in the criminal ranks.

    The DEA does not need reforming. It needs disbanding. It was a bad idea to begin with, and has cost America trillions of dollars and its status as a free country. “Scheduling” a drug and including criminal sanctions for enforcement of that drug’s prohibition ensures its inclusion into the economy of crime. That is the DEA’s hoard of gold. The public is little more than future revenue and potential customers. What does this agency care about rights or privacy? To them privacy is the hallmark of a criminal act.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Who the heck votes in April? Voters in Wichita Kansas have approved decriminalization of petty possession of cannabis and made the penalty a civil fine of $50. The legal status generated by the approval of that ballot initiative seems likely to be a highly polarizing controversy among State and local politicians.. Sure, ballot initiatives all do that more or less. But this time the enemies of freedom have promised to argue their case on the basis of State preemption. While I’ve seen people make that argument before (e.g. Denver 2006, Philadelphia 2014, Portland Maine 2014) it’s never been from anybody with a clue (e.g. Denver police 2006, Philadelphia police 2014, Portland Maine police 2014) This time it’s in a legal opinion published by the Kansas Attorney General.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are at least 3 or 4 different approaches to assigning powers to localities by their respective State government.
    Wichita seeks ruling on legality of marijuana initiative

  • Onward

    >>>

    France’s National Assembly voted Yesterday to legalize shooting galleries. The legislation is part of the new health bill and was approved by 50 votes to 24.

    http://www.thelocal.fr/20150408/france-votes-to-legalize-shooting-galleries

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    I think this one belongs in the “holy Nelly, here’s another one I never thought I’d live to see the day” category:

    House members tell DOJ to back off on marijuana

    /snip/
    “We write to inform you that this interpretation of our amendment is emphatically wrong,” Farr and Rohrabacher wrote to Holder. “Rest assured, the purpose of our amendment was to prevent the Department from wasting its limited law enforcement resources on prosecutions and asset forfeiture actions against medical marijuana patients and providers, including businesses that operate legally under state law.”

    State law enforcement agencies are better equipped to determine whether people and businesses are abiding by state laws, they wrote.

    We respectfully insist that you bring your Department back into compliance with federal law(emphasis added) by ceasing marijuana prosecutions and forfeiture actions against those acting in accordance with state medical marijuana laws,” their letter concludes.

    I’ve got to admit that its going to make the prohibitionists squeal like stuck pigs and I fear that years and years in the future they’re going to torment us with the rhetorical question, “why should the DoJ be forced to obey Federal law when the District gets to ignore it?”

  • DdC

    In 3 states, Weed is polling better than the entire 2016 field
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CCCAx8IWAAA8Ka5.png:large

    • DdC

      Meanwhile, if I ever go back to FL from CA it will be via Canada. Hat tip to the Texican Ganja activists though. Must be a sturdy bunch.

      Texas bill would make driving with any marijuana in system illegal http://wp.me/p3GwqD-ZP via @TXCann
      Representative Cecil Bell has introduced a bill which would criminalize people who have any amount of marijuana in their system.

      Deep in the Black Heart of Teckus…
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1961

      Are You Drunk Cecil?
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/579
      NORML strongly opposes zero-tolerance DUI bills on the grounds that scientific studies have shown that blood tests are incapable of determining driving impairment. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,”It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects. … It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone.”

  • Servetus

    In the Los Angeles Police Department, it’s good to be captain:

    “Why did he bring up the captain? He was talking about how strict the LAPD is with its employees and how they are all scared to get in trouble or involved with anything political. I believe he brought up the captain to clarify that it is only the officers who are worried about getting in trouble. I think it was a compare and contrast type of thing possibly. In other words, we the police are scared to get in trouble but the captains get away with anything they want – for example the pot smoking in the office with his feet on the desk and the door open. Both of the guys were adamant about the fact they personally could never get away with such flagrant behavior.”

  • Servetus

    This Worst Cop Award–for the moment–goes to Officer Glenn Ball of the Kennewick Police department in Kennewick, Washington, for admitting on camera that serving and protecting means “Quotas, Falsifying Charges, & Extorting the Poor”

    • Crut

      At this point, how can any officer assume that they are NOT being filmed?

      I’m sensing a business opportunity here.

  • Servetus

    It’s taken until the beginning of April, 2015, for the NIDA to finally acknowledge the medical benefits of marijuana’s cannabinoids, (discussion here).*

    For the NIDA to wait this long to admit the obvious paints the NIDA as anything but a scientifically coordinated government research group.

    In future dictionary definitions of “pseudoscience”, the National Institute of Drug Abuse will figure prominently.
    .
    .
    *Scott KA, Dalgleish AG, Liu WM. “The combination of cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anticancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model.” Mol Cancer Ther. 2014;13(12):2955-67.

  • NorCalNative

    My DEA story.

    Or, the alternate version: How big are YOUR BALLS?

    About ten years ago cannabis patients and some others formed a group of approximately 35-to-40 people in front of our local DEA office in Santa Rosa, CA.

    We were there with signs to protest the “Cease and Desist” order that the DEA had placed on a Santa Rosa dispensary. There’s DEA spying and then there’s showing up on their front door.

    I expected to get my picture taken that day so I made sure I was clean on my person and my car, just in case. A few minutes into our protest I started smelling cannabis smoke and some nervous laughter. I heard someone shout “Eddy.”

    Eddy’s currently in federal prison doing time for cannabis cultivation, some guy named Eddy Lepp.

    The difference between the group and Eddy that day was we were sticking our necks out a little to practice democracy and he was hanging his big pair out and practicing Freedom!

    How big are yours?