August 5, 2013
An exclusive investigative report by Reuters appears to confirm fears held by critics that the vast network of surveillance programs maintained by the National Security Agency is being used not only for countering international terrorism, but also for targeting common criminals within the U.S.
Though NSA officials and their backers have repeatedly said that the spy programs are designed to “keep America safe” from international terrorism, the new revelations show that domestic law enforcement is likely being supplied with data from these same operations.
According to the report, a secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit—called Special Operations Division, or SOD—”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.”
Documents obtained by Reuters reveal that DEA agents or other law enforcement agencies are supplied with information used from “classified” sources to initiate investigations but that internal protocols demand that investigators then “recreate” the source of where the information came from so to keep SOD’s involvement off the books.