Holder Pressed on DEA Use of NSA Intelligence

A group of Democratic senators and congressmen want Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report earlier this month revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) supplied the DEA with intelligence information aimed not at fighting foreign terrorism, but at making drug cases in the US.

Five Democratic senators and three Democratic congressmen -- all senior members of the House Judiciary Committee -- have sent a letter to Holder, obtained by Reuters, that submitted questions on the issue. Congressional aides told Reuters the matter will be discussed during a classified hearing next month.

The original Reuters report showed that a DEA intelligence unit passes on NSA-gathered intelligence to field agents and instructs them not to reveal the source of the intelligence -- even in court. Those tips involve drugs, organized crime, and money laundering -- not terrorism, which is the raison d'etre for the NSA surveillance program.

"These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government's intelligence gathering apparatus," said the letter written by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Three congressmen -- ranking Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) -- sent a similar letter after the original Reuters report earlier this month.

"If this report is accurate, then it describes an unacceptable breakdown in the barrier between foreign intelligence surveillance and criminal process," the congressmen wrote.

It's not just Democrats. House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told CBS's Face the Nation August 18 that the NSA's passing of intelligence to the DEA for non-terrorist criminal investigations is of concern.

"I think we need to have a very careful examination of this. I think that the trust of the American people in their government is what's at stake here," he said.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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These revelations

... are just the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure.

 

The main issue here (IMO) is accountability.

 

Many senior high ranking individuals within the government sector do not answer to a superior, since they are at the top of the food chain, so the speak.

 

Take this into consideration, it is easy to see why lust for power is so rancid in the western world.  And also why so many high-ranking politicians and employees will refuse to give up their position without a bitter fight in which it's not uncommon to witness, see or hear about a crime being commited.

 

So, again, these crooks need to be held accountable and brought to justice for this type of bullshit.

 

Unfortunately, few are even caught.

seriously?

Is anyone really surprised at this revelation?We know they use satelite surveilance and aircraft with hi tech radar,infared and whatever else is available to enforce the borders and drug interdiction.That the NSA wouldn't be sharing this information would be the shocker.The government has been trying to merge the wars on drugs and terror ever since the homeland security creation.Whatever it takes to keep the pork rolling.The waste of resources is an abomination.I fail to understand how they can raise their budget every year while they cut from every "entitlement" program there is.Some have been cut right out.But not drug interdiction.That just keeps on growing,in spite of all the evidence that it's not effective and we are getting very low bang for our buck.Who really wants these programs to grow?Not the American public.All polls state clearly that the drug war is a failure and that we need another approach entirely.Education,treatment on demand and an end to all prohibition would be a start.And quit throwing money down the drug war toilet.How many needed programs could we save by just saying no to prohibition,again.

Old_Cowboy's picture

Over-reach by the feds?

Oh it just can't be...

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