back to article Leaked docs: SOD squad feeds NSA intelligence to drug enforcement plods

Leaked documents have revealed the existence of a Special Operations Division (SOD) within the Drug Enforcement Agency that receives and distributes tips gleaned by the NSA to arrange arrests, and then hides where that information came from. "That's outrageous," Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal …

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Bronze badge

...and?

And how is this shocking? Many "Tips" come from sources no one will ever know. It is probably illegal the way the information is gathered, true, but America has been "fighting" drugs in this manner for so long, we don't need leaked documents to know it. "The War On Drugs" is never over, never! (Yeh, it's bullshit).

BTW, Hooray for Uruguay! Apparently they are seeking peace while others seek war!

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Re: ...and?

Just because it doesn't come as a surprise doesn't make it less shocking. Law enforcement should *not* use illegal means to achieve its aims. The whole concept of the Rule of Law as supposedly practiced in the USA/UK requires a clear evidential trail so that it can be examined to ensure that the defendant is indeed guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.*

It is good that this has come to light, and it is no longer merely a supposition. The battle lies in how to change it, and to what.

* (though juries clearly don't have a clue what that means when they are finding people guilty of crimes committed decades ago).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...and?

Of course law enforcement shouldn't use illegal means to achieve its aims... and if they do, then all it means is that the laws need to be changed, retroactively, to make their means legal. Only for them of course.

However, the reality is that they are always beyond the law.

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Gold badge

Re: ...and?

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Perpetual war = perpetual carte blanche to funnel money back to your campaign donors.

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Anonymous Coward

No sh*t

Never would have guessed this.

Shocking, Dr Watson.

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Anonymous Coward

Cops instructing other cops to lie to the legal process... well that's a novel form of due process. Given what we've learnt about America over these last few weeks, it's hardly a surprise to find due process is of no value to them either.

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"Cops instructing other cops to lie to the legal process... well that's a novel form of due process. Given what we've learnt about America over these last few weeks, it's hardly a surprise to find due process is of no value to them either."

Really? If you can find 1 country where cops don't lie for other cops, please list which planet it is on. It isn't called a "Brotherhood" for nothing.

Since you aren't surprised, dig up some drug related articles from the 70's and 80's, those might do the trick. This SOD B.S. is very, very clean compared to just straight out torture...or do all girlfriends of suspected drug dealers wind up "falling" down the stairs at police stations?

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Just because SOD is not as obnoxious as Serpico doesn't mean its very very very clean.

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Anonymous Coward

This is legal according to FISA?

We have laws that rightly restrict abuse of the NSA's data gathering capability. Not only does it appear that there is a flood of data going out of NSA that isn't related to National Security and Counter-terrorism, but it appears that sworn government agents frequently perjure themselves on issues of where data is being sourced.

This is bound to lead to a "If we don't have evidence, let's make it up" attitude in law enforcement, and far bigger crimes in the future. This has to stop.

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Holmes

Re: This is legal according to FISA?

"We have laws that rightly restrict abuse of the NSA's data gathering capability. Not only does it appear that there is a flood of data going out of NSA that isn't related to National Security and Counter-terrorism, but it appears that sworn government agents frequently perjure themselves on issues of where data is being sourced."

That only applies if the information is no good.

Of course it might be a bit awkward if most of those tips came from eavesdropping on US nationals, as opposed to foreigners.

So probably best not to say where it came from

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Anonymous Coward

Lots of uses

Seems there are lots of uses for the Petabytes of NSA accumulated data. Drug enforcement, anti-terrorism, industrial espionage, blackmail, infiltration of various groups ... many many uses that certainly endow a tremendous amount of power to those in control of how the information is used. Its probably the largest tool for mass control and manipulation apart from television in the (known) history of the planet. Just as well there are clear controls about how its used and who authorises 'investigations' ... as it would be really dangerous for democracy if this was all secret as the scope for abuse would be monumental ...

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Re: Lots of uses

Whoa there tin hat philosopher!

Now, I agree with your general worries, but where it breaks down for me is a price analysis of what it costs to watch others and what one can benefit from that. Other than the security issues which covers the drug, terrorism, and espionage, the rest of it would be using costly assets for a low return.

The 'man' doesn't control fuck all and never will. Certainly people will fall into logical social traps that the media can greatly exacerbate (I'm thinking the recent idiocy of the Cameron government's save the children from porn is a fine example among many - very many), but at the end of the day it is much ado about nothing. People over-react in the short term and under-react in the long term. What we see in front of us is everyone positioning themselves to be on the 'right' side of the 'right' issue at the 'right' time.

And in our little analysis here, time is important because to seriously fuck with a person takes a lot of time, particularly if you are the authorities. One in such a position does not just quickly frame up someone and then move to the next target. No, they have to involve others, then there will be the court to deal with the people and the jails to put them in, neither of which are exactly high vacancy institutions.

Its not so much that I think LE should be left to its devices, but if this is the scandal regarding policing that we fear most, then we have come a long way from the old fashion fixing of evidence and perhaps those of us afraid of what the law can discover should reconsider their actions or at least not broadcast the evidence which could lead to their demise. Naturally this goes double for corporations.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lots of uses

"...as it would be really dangerous for democracy if this was all secret as the scope for abuse would be monumental "

No kidding. Roll on Snowden!

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Trollface

Re: Lots of uses

...Advertising...

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Anonymous Coward

Game of Thrones....

The stupidity of the War on Drugs (WOD) is only surpassed by the War Against Terror (TWAT)! Its a stupid Game of Thrones on both sides.... Drugs should be legalized! How many drug related shoot-outs occur each year? How many US prisons are filled with addicts? Lets legalize it, control it, and tax it all at state level. Then lets use some of the money for treatment centres and boost local and state police. Most debt ridden governments need all the revenue they can get.... I wonder what law enforcement officials thought once prohibition ended? Like all wars, they must have asked themselves, what was it all for?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game of Thrones....

Perhaps we could pump the addicts full of free stuff to hasten them on their way?

Anyone who knows or has known those who fell for the allure of drugs only to find that shine worn off their wrecked life might not be so sanguine about free supplies.

Drug controls came in to target the issue of such 'collateral damage' , sadly they have failed to save lives just as much as they have failed to stop the traders or their profiting.

I guess the one thing in favour of relaxation is that it might, but only 'might' take some of the crime and violence out of a very dirty business.

Somehow, like every other drug initiative I doubt that anything new will produce any 'end of the line' positive result.

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Re: Game of Thrones....

When you could buy smack and coke at the chemist without prescription, no-one was selling it in the street, and the purity was guaranteed by Parke-Davis/Pfizer rather than being cut with glass.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game of Thrones....

'Anyone who knows or has known those who fell for the allure of drugs'

Oh please, get off your soapbox... We already have alcohol, tobacco and legal highs, and the world hasn't ended yet. These 'legal drugs' can be just as addictive and lethal when overused!

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Bronze badge

Re: Game of Thrones....

>Anyone who knows or has known those who fell for the allure of drugs only to find that shine worn off their wrecked life might not be so sanguine about free supplies.

The facts are against you.

In the UK, until 1971, heroin could be given, free, to those who registered as an addict. Only a small number registered (just over 200 - in the whole of the UK), and few problems were attached to this policy.

More recently, a doctor in Lancashire repeated the 'British Method' experiment - giving free drugs on the NHS. During the 11 years of this experiment, none of the doctor's druggie patients died - and crime in the immediate area fell by two-thirds.

Then the UK government ended the experiment, and two of the doctor's patients had died within a year, crime had risen again (and the doctor emigrated to NZ).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game of Thrones....

Sorry your attention span was too short even to read to the end of a short message. Yes I have seen lives wrecked by STARTING on a drug fuelled path. Yes I have heard the bitter regret voiced by the victims. However, unlike you I did not preach, I stated that every effort to control the 'problem' has failed. Why did drug control laws come into use?

Once most, if not all drugs were freely or cheaply available there were problems then and there are problems now. Sadly they are probably greater now with the involvement of gun fights to protect the dealer's 'turf'. That is not progress.

For those too limited to understand, I am aware that every effort legislate has failed, are you unaware or just uncaring that the collateral damage of those who become hooked is wrecked and wasted lives for what?

I argued for a better solution than those tried failures of the past.

Questions,

Why do some never try drugs?

Why do some try and pass on by?

Why do some try, get hooked and ruin themselves and many of those about them?

Or are those question too direct and to the point for many to handle?

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Thumb Up

Re: Game of Thrones....

If you keep talking sense like that it won't be long and you'll be in a heap of trouble.

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Meh

Re: Game of Thrones....

You're an evil communist socialist if you want to legalise drugs!

If drugs are legalised, then... just think about the poor little rich bastards that run the private prison-industrial complex!

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Vic
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Re: Game of Thrones....

> I stated that every effort to control the 'problem' has failed

You did indeed state that.

It didn't stop you being wrong. Just look at Switzerland, for example.

Vic.

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Big Brother

A Scanner Darkly

The Fourth Amendment was Mortally Wounded by the Drug War Long Before National Security Tried to Kill It

Lucy Steigerwald, July 26, 2013

In 1971, Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs and tested the waters with a DC bill that made no-knock raids legal on private homes. Some years later, Ronald Reagan stepped up that war, and unlike Nixon, most of the powers that Reagan claimed — and the Supreme Court frequently confirmed — were not ever taken away. The cop, court, and Constitutional drug war mess needs more detail than there is space here (check out Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop, as well as Antiwar’s interview with him for more of that history) but really, once upon a time, when terrorism wasn’t keeping the paranoid up at night, a bunch of people decided that enemy number one was drugs. And no violation was too serious, no quarter was to be given in this fight. Sound familiar?

The effects of that decision to go to “war” can now be seen in the prison-industrial complex, militarized police and their mission creep, and our comatose Fourth Amendment.

Here are just a few figures: in 2012 87 percent of state and federal law enforcement wiretaps were over narcotics, with stats from the past decade showing similar numbers. ”Sneak and peak” warrants — legalized by the PATRIOT Act — between 2009 and 2010 were used for narcotics investigations 76 percent of the time. And what is the NYPD’s contentious “stop and frisk” policy if not a massive violation of the privacy of (mostly black and Hispanic) New Yorkers?

Previously at Antiwar I critiqued libertarian John Stossel’s bizarre refusal to admit that the NSA spying is dangerous. But Stossel did indeed have a point within the madness –the drug war started it. Not only are terror-fighting tools used to investigate drug crimes much of the time, but many privacy protections were already chipped away by the drug war decades before 9/11...

Recently Rand Paul pestered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for clarification about their use of domestic drones. The FBI responded with a few details including that drones have been used for “eight criminal cases and two national security cases” since 2006. The most notable thing mentioned in their report is that the FBI did not see fit to get a search warrant for their drone use, since the targets of their investigations didn’t have an expectation of privacy. This isn’t particularly surprising, more a depressing confirmation of what we would already have suspected...

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Ah, this explains a lot of arrests

I live close to I-10 and I-12 which is probably the major transit route from Mexico to the East coast in the USA. For some time I've notice that the police seem to be amazingly lucky with their traffic stops, usually pulling people over for minor infractions (changing lane without signalling for example) and then "finding" large quantities of drugs in the vehicles. These are always reported as chance stops that just happened to result in the discovery...

You might say that (like Clint in Unforgiven) they are just lucky but they almost never seem to stop people and find just an ounce or two - it's always huge amounts. They even manage to keep up their success rate when the couriers use the back roads too. Oddly enough, even when the drug bust is local lads, there always seems to be someone from out of state hauled in too. I'd been playing with various explanations like a mole in the organizations, sophisticated chemical trace sensors etc but it makes much more sense that their communications are getting hacked at a federal level and the information then drips down to the local cops.

I'm not a "druggie" but unexplained patterns and statistical anomalies fascinate me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah, this explains a lot of arrests

I am a druggie and patterns absolutely fascinate me!

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Anonymous Coward

It simply creeps me out

US of A have just set the tables for a dire future to themselves and since they don't know much about geography, to the whole planet. Now all it takes is someone to abuse this system. Trust me, that person (or a small select group) will come sooner or later.

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Re: It simply creeps me out

" ... that person ....will .."

I'm sure they already have. I can't know for sure because I don't have access to email/phone records of NSA staff.

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It never ends

So much for voting for a Democrat to increase transparency and limit government abuse. W Bush and Obama actually have a lot in common. They are both baby boomers who could give a f__k about our constitution.

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Unhappy

Re: It never ends

"They are both baby boomers who could give a f__k about our constitution."

Upvoted you for the intent. But I wish people wouldn't say "could give a f__k" when they mean "couldn't give a f__k".

It's really not that hard if you think about what the two phrases actually mean for a minute or two.

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Re: It never ends

Pedantic rant noted. This may be another Yank vs UK thing because they way I say is the most common you hear in the states.

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Happy

Re: It never ends

Yeah, but my neighbors also say 'libary', 'supposably' and confuse ideal with idea.

Don't put too much stock in how the average American says something; you misunderestimate the failure of our education system.

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Paris Hilton

Re: It never ends

asdf might be correct, in that they, could, in fact give a f__k, when in actual fact they choose not to.

As for BJ Clinton, now there's a president that could give a f__k. Would receive it ----->

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: It never ends

> you misunderestimate the failure of our education system

But is our children learning?

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Anonymous Coward

Google search "NSA SOD DEA"

..and predictably find no major American print or TV networks covering the story.

Likely end up on a watchlist for your trouble, though ;)

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Just stop it

The war on drugs serves only the big crooks, big bad money floats into politics. Apart from the crooks nobody gains anything. Rather counter productive to say the least, like curing lung cancer with a shot gun.

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Unhappy

Re: Just stop it

"The war on drugs serves only the big crooks, big bad money floats into politics. Apart from the crooks nobody gains anything. Rather counter productive to say the least, like curing lung cancer with a shot gun."

I guess you don't know the old one about how they found a cure for cancer?

It's heroin.

Ever see a junkie who died of cancer?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just stop it

Actually I knew a heavy heroin user who died of cancer. He'd been using for about 30 years, went to see a doctor about a mild complaint of stomach cramps (he thought he had food poisoning), and his entire body was riddled with cancer - he died barely a week later from it!

Mind you, I've also known five people using heroin who died as a direct result of that (one who got clean for a year then OD'd on too much), the four others from dirty needles or dirty gear.

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Silver badge

When the West Pumps and Pimps Sub-Prime, Going East for ITs Exotic and Erotic Fare is Intelligent

When Truth is hidden and denied, is the Delivered App an Austere Virtual Reality Play and Self -Centering Great Game lacking Intelligence

Leaked docs: SOD squad feeds NSA intelligence to drug enforcement plods

It gets worse: DEA demands that enforcers lie about source of evidence.

Hi, Iain Thomson,

Is that MO/V* not exactly what the Chilcot Inquiry members [Crown representatives of the populace and British legal system] are deliberating on/prevaricating on/terrified of exposing and apportioning criminal blame and public shame on, with regard to the Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell shafting of the UKGBNI Global Media Control System, the SIS and JIC and the MOD, with their tall and fanciful tales of WMD …….. for Worlds Control with Words? …… or would there be a full Cabinet responsibility for that misguiding engineered misadventure?

Special Operations Division squad feeds No Such Agency intelligence to Military Industrial Complex/Dollar Generation and Spend Plods ….. big.little mindless robots.

Welcome to the Virtual Machine Matrix with its AIMazes and DODGI** Mind Games Programming for Powering Robot Control and Command with Global Operating Devices?

And here be an Ab Fab Fabless Opportunity and ZerodDay Vulnerability to Exploit and Export with Generous Capitalisation for Public and Private and Pirate Profit Generation/Spending Cash Supply, and a novel tale and future creative tangent with PRC Command of GOD? …… http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2013-08/06/content_16872867.htm

* Modus Operandi/Vivendi

** Department of Defense Government Issue

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Bronze badge

Cobra?

Damn, you gotta tip you hat to Frederick Forsyth: just reclassify drugs as a national security threat and you don't need to worry about legal niceties anymore, eh? Hold on: did anyone leak it to him a few years ago, I wonder?

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Anonymous Coward

Obligatory Puns

KNEEL BEFORE SOD!

If they got rid of this program, you could declare "SOD Off!"

As it says in the Bible, SOD 'em and GetMorro[their cohorts].

I... I'll be off. That was just terrible. Sorry.

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Posse Comitatus

The NSA, a military organization, turned against the US population. Now we find out they and the DEA colluded to falsify probable cause and lie in court. For decades.

If senior officials and politicians aren't convicted of treason now, the system is completely broken.

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Re: Posse Comitatus

Don't hold your breath! System is broken. Completely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Posse Comitatus

Don't hold your breath! System is broken. Completely.

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Anonymous Coward

This is funny

Some people act like this is a bad thing.

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Re: This is funny

Some people act like this is a bad thing.

I think it's more like annoyance that we (the people) can't break the laws whilst those in power shit all over those same laws with utter impunity.

Politicians lie and commit treason by destroying the constitution, soldiers torture suspects, the police murder civilians, bankers destroy the economy and they all get big fat bonuses - meanwhile, you smoke a joint and get placed into the slave trade (ie the American penal system) - get caught three times and lose your liberty for a long while..

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Silver badge

Re: This is funny

It is too much to expect an AC troll to explain their point of view, I suppose?

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Unhappy

Re: This is funny

The rule of law was deposed 150+ years ago. Even the great defenders of the Union, like Lincoln, lived above the law and were completely fine with ignoring the parts of the Constitution that were inconvenient.

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WTF?

War on drugs

It is amazing to see the lengths law enforcement, especially in the US, will go to in order to throw gasoline on the fire. You would think they would have learned the lesson 80 years ago when Prohibition was repealed.

Making vices illegal merely legislates a handsome profit while ensuring only the most unscrupulous people will be in the trade.

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