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Secretive DEA Surveillance Unit Makes NSA Look Like Happy Hour

A Drug Enforcement Administration surveillance unit is illegally passing information on criminal cases to more than two dozen government agencies.

A secretive DEA surveillance unit is illegally passing information on criminal cases to more than two dozen government agencies. The Special Operations Division is giving tips gleaned from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants, and metadata to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and others.

This information sharing is for criminal cases, not terrorism cases, and it's highly illegal. In the most contentious part of an investigation by Reuters, journalists John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke found that the DEA instructed other agencies to create coverups of where they got the information.

One federal agent from a different agency who worked with the Special Operations Division told Reuters, "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 article declined to say where the Special Operations Division is based, saying only that it's in northern Virginia. However, a quick Google search for "LinkedIn" and "Special Operations Division" found many, many profiles for Special Operations Division employees and ex-employees, all of which said the division was based in Chantilly, VA. Now, that's what LinkedIn is there for!

[Image: Flickr user Brett Neilson]

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