Secret Wiretap Information Passed On To the D.E.A , Who doeth the beast slayeth?
Why am I not surprised?
In breaking news today by Reuters, it was revealed that a secretive US Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents 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. 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.
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.”
The actions of S.O.D. underscore why we should never allow our government to intercept our email and spy on us, even for the ostensible reason for preventing terrorism. There is a saying among lawyers that bad facts make for bad law. The idea is that a judge will stretch the law to try to prevent a guilty individual from escaping justice. The analogy holds true to the actions of the federal government. By rattling the sabre of terrorism , the government isn’t only striking out at terrorists, but is using the “bad facts” of terrorism to justify the slaying its own citizens. At the Law Offices of Russell Babcock, we are committed to ferreting out instances of police and government misconduct. I argued the case of People v. Kasim many years ago and convinced the appellate court to reverse a life conviction because of the blatant lies and perjury of Deputy District Attorneys and police officers.
All too often, especial in federal and state drug cases, government agents lie about the source of their information. It is then a small step for them to expand the lie and fabricate evidence, disuade favorable witnesses from testifying, and destroying material helpful to the government.
If you suspect there has been government misconduct in your case, please let us know. It can form the basis for a defense to your prosecution. Russell Babcock has more than thirty years of experience combating government misconduct in all federal and state criminal cases. We look forward to helping you when you or your loved one is not only the accused–but the victim–the victim of police or prosecutorial misconduct.