If you have "no place to go," come here!

I always wondered how the powers that be could fake evidence based on NSA data, and now I know

Reuters takes the lid off another bucket of snakes: Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans:

The undated documents show that federal agents [in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit] 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.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations." ....

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Today, much of the SOD's work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked "Law Enforcement Sensitive," a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

"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."

So, suppose we want to target Person of Interest X, and the NSA comes up with a Google search on -- Hi, NSA!! [waves] -- "pressure cookers." I guess the SOD would be the unit to come up with the witness statement that Person of Interest X was casing pressure cookers at Walmart, eh? Just yikes. If the Reuters story is to be believed, SOD is "recreating" evidence. So what happens when they just start creating it?

No votes yet


jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations." ....

I don't want any 3 letter govt. clown outfit to have any so called special rules, it's illegal.

So what happens when they just start creating it?

I'm sure this has already happened we just don't have access to that file, just like that old fallback WMD or they have chemical weapons or ?

The country as a whole is speeding toward fascist govt. run by the 1%, everyone else serfs up Main Street.

I don’t agree with the above site libertarian slant but they do cut down to the bone on bullshit

How's the painting going?

LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

meant to be kept secret from courts, prosecutors, judges, the public at large. Worse, it's the DEA, "infiltrated" by CIA (yes Virginia, they control the logistics of the contraband,) and are "working" within this framework in order to… what? Seriously, to do what in secret, exactly?

And as far as "creating evidence" goes, it's a secret division and program. As Lord Dalberg-Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

The real problem (and I think what irked the former judge), is it kicks the crap out of the "fruit of the poisonous tree"doctrine.

Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence or evidence itself (the "tree") is tainted, then anything gained from it (the "fruit") is tainted as well. The term fruit of the poisonous tree was first used in Nardone v. United States in the opinion by Justice Felix Frankfurter.

Such evidence is not generally admissible in court. For example, if a police officer conducted an unconstitutional (Fourth Amendment) search of a home and obtained a key to a train station locker, and evidence of a crime came from the locker, that evidence would most likely be excluded under the fruit of the poisonous tree legal doctrine. The discovery of a witness is not evidence in itself because the witness is attenuated by separate interviews, in-court testimony and his or her own statements.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

To me at least. They're covering it on Rachel Maddow tonight. The Reuters corespondent says that they've been engaging in these kinds of practices since the 1990s.

Maddow doesn't evaluate this; just reports it and highlights the issues, but not "the fruit of the poisonous tree" issue.