The federal government has a long-standing domestic data intercept and collection operation with a mandate is to go after narco-terrorism, organized crime, and gangs. In order to keep it secret, they cover up the trail that leads back to them as the source.
SOD, the Special Operations Division of the DEA was created to use/collect intercepts, wiretaps, informants, and a massive database of telephone records and supply the information they collect to authorities throughout the nation to launch criminal investigations of Americans. Reuters has uncovered documents that show agents have been told to cover up how the investigations began from defense lawyers and even prosecutors and judges at times.
The agency partners with the FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, DHS et al.
Their work is fully classified and their location in Virginia is not known.
Agents are given the information by SOD and then told to recreate the information through normal channels.
Reuters cited one example of how it works. SOD will tell law enforcement to stop a certain vehicle, which they then do, pretending it’s a routine traffic stop. The process is called ‘parallel construction.’
DEA said their recreation or falsification of investigative trails is legal and done almost daily. They said it is a bedrock process that is decades old. One DEA agent said it’s like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean.
Many lawyers believe that employing the practice to disguise how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence. If so, this practice, in hiding exculpatory evidence, would be unconstitutional.
One federal agent told Reuters that their accuracy is about 60%. Another said they always feared it wouldn’t remain secret.