D.E.A. SPY PROGRAM MORE INTRUSIVE THAN N.S.A. INVASION
NWV News Writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
September 9, 2013
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For the last six years, the nation's narcotics enforcement agency working in the midst of the drug war on both sides of the US-Mexican border have obtained subpoenas in order to access the vast AT&T database which stores the records of phone calls made by residents of the United States, according to a former drug enforcement agent and criminal analyst, Timothy McMillan.
While the method of data collection is similar to that of the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration spy program's years of existence far surpasses those of the NSA, which is currently under investigation by U.S. lawmakers in both political parties, according to McMillan.
According to an official from the American Civil Liberties Union, "Calling patterns can reveal when we are awake and asleep; our religion, if a person regularly makes no calls on the Sabbath, or makes a large number of calls on Christmas Day; our work habits and our social aptitude; the number of friends we have; and even our civil and political affiliations. . . ."
The DEA's spy program, which was dubbed "Hemisphere Project," entails AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) being paid by the feds to place some of its security staff in drug-enforcement task forces comprised of DEA agents and state/local police investigators.
These AT&T private security officials would then give drug enforcement commanders the collected phone data going back to files during the Reagan Administration, according to McMillan.
"The DEA program far exceeds the NSA program, which allegedly stores data for nearly all telephone calls made or received in the United States for a period of five years," said Det. McMillan, who possesses a doctorate in International Affairs.
President Barack Obama's minions have conceded to the New York Times that AT&T's security staff members are embedded in government drug task forces in a number of states, and the admitted the surreptitiously collected data is stored by AT&T, a private company, and not by the government or contractors working for US government agencies.
Privacy violation issues may arise because the data is allegedly retrieved through the decisions of DEA superiors who routinely issue "departmental subpoenas" instead of the subpoenas that must be secured from a federal grand jury or US judge.
"The [US] government has for years used the pretense of “foreign intelligence surveillance” to gather vast amounts of information about every American -- innocent or not, with or without suspicion,” according to the ACLU.
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The theory that it can collect our private information now in case it needs it later violates the most basic of American rights: to be left alone by our government absent suspicion of wrongdoing," said Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project.
In discussing the NSA program, Abdo stated: "[T]he government’s logic turns the Fourth Amendment on its head -- the protections of the Constitution are concerned with the government’s initial intrusion upon privacy, not only with the later uses to which the government puts the information it has collected. That’s why it is unconstitutional for the government, without a warrant, to seize your journal even if it never reads it; to record your phone call even if it never listens to it; or to videotape your bedroom activities even if it never presses play."
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