The revelations publicized by Snowden that the NSA is involved in massive operations of spying on US citizens, for whatever reason, still doesn’t seem to register with a majority of the population.
“I’m certainly willing to give up a little bit of privacy to ensure that we are safe from terrorists” seems to be the usual response.
But what would that opinion be if that same data was used to start a criminal case into a drug investigation? Would that same opinion be held by John Q Public? What will happen when the question makes clear that the intelligence not only isn’t being used for terrorism investigations against foreign agents, but is actively being applied to criminal investigations against Americans?
Well.. it seems that is exactly what is happening. The NSA is sharing data with crime enforcement agencies such as the DEA. The NSA is giving your phone records to the DEA and covering it up
But to hide the trail and the connection to this data, and the possible constitutional issues that it would bring up, the Special Operation Division of the DEA (SOD) is giving instructions along with the data on how to get around this “technical detail”. They are instructed to “recreate” the circumstances that led to the investigation. Called parallel construction, an example would be that you are told that xyz characters are going to be at a truckstop at 4:00 am with some drugs. You must then construct a background of investigation using lies, deception, and staged tricks that will allow you to have an excuse as to why you knew that xyz person was going to be at that truckstop with those drugs. You must then used that “staged” parallel construction as your evidence presented in court because you cannot in anyway reveal the SOD connection with the NSA.
“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.”
You see why this is a problem, right? If they don’t know the real reason why you came to be arrested, then you can’t challenge the Constitutionality of that arrest. Was the informant your former best friend who has a grudge against you and informed on you for money? You’ll never know. Was the informant your own illegally obtained phone records? You’ll never know. Was it something that you looked up on the internet? Or maybe a friend using your computer looked up something? You’ll never know because that will be changed in court evidence. How does staged beginning mean justice served? How can you have court cases being tossed out today because the evidence was illegally obtained BUT if it involved the SOD and secret data, the staged evidence be allowed?
“Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”
If the reason that you were investigated to begin with is never revealed or covered up with fabrications, it may get more arrests of criminals but at what point does the rule of law overrule results? How can you even have a debate about this issue when only one side holds all the information and any requests for detail are shrouded in secrecy and that omnipotent stamp of “National Security”?