DEA spied and collected data on those who bought money-counting machines

 

 

By now, most of us probably are aware of the massive amounts of data collected on each and every one of us and is maintained out at the “Utah Data Center” aka NSA Spy Center. Add this gem to the collection pile. I for one want to know more about these “blanket administrative subpoenas” that are being used that I keep hearing about. Easy to pass this off as a “who cares.” Money counting machines you say?  But it is the arrogance of our government that should be chilling.The government is collecting anything and everything. How much more that we don’t know about?

The Drug Enforcement Administration maintained a database of people who purchased money-counting machines as part of a “legally questionable” effort to identify suspected drug dealers for further surveillance and enforcement efforts, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

….

Beginning in 2008, the DEA began issuing “blanket administrative subpoenas to vendors to learn who was buying money counters,” all of which had “no court oversight and were not pegged to any particular investigation.” They then assembled a database of “tens of thousands” of individuals who had purchased the devices, using the information as leads in investigations.

Before we get to the meat of this abuse, let’s take a refresher as to why we should care and why this must be stopped.

 

NSA Utah spy center revealed – 100 years of total data stored

Filmed from Redwood Road, you can see the progress of the NSA’s Utah Data Center as it was being built also called the NSA Spy Center. There are quotes from various individuals who are knowledgeable or have worked for the NSA.

 

 

 

Back to the story:

The public version of the report, which noted that the program might not be legal, was heavily redacted as part of a DEA-inspector general joint process. But the Times wrote that due to a mistake, the inspector general failed to redact a section where it was mentioned that the DEA was not mentioning where their leads were coming from in case files:

Human Rights Watch researcher Sarah St. Vincent, who first flagged the redaction mistake, noted a 2008 email in which a DEA official wrote, “Unless a federal court tells us we can’t do this, I think we can continue this project.” Vincent told the Times that was curious, as the secrecy of the program precluded any judicial review. She also noted that it appeared to be an example of parallel construction, in which investigators attempt to conceal how a particular investigation began to avoid scrutiny in court.

According to the Times report, the DEA program was one of those shut down after Snowden leaked a massive archive of U.S. government secrets, including the existence of an NSA program to collect bulk metadata on Americans’ domestic phone calls; that program was later declared illegal by courts and replaced by Congress with a scaled-down program. (That successor program itself may be on the way out.) The controversy surrounding bulk records collection programs appears to have spooked the DEA.

Another DEA program “that used administrative subpoenas to collect bulk logs of outgoing international phone calls from the United States to countries linked to drug trafficking” was shut down in 2013, the same year as FBI agents raised their suspicions about the money-counter sales records program and it was discontinued, the Times wrote. According to the Washington Post, the inspector general report “came as close as it could to” declare the phone-data operation illegal.

The collection of the outbound international calls was “not connected to specific investigations or specific individuals under investigation” as would be necessary to justify it under law, Deputy Inspector General Bill Blier said in a statement. “This use of the subpoena authority conflicts with court decisions stating that a federal agency’s issuance of administrative subpoenas must be for records relevant or material to a specific investigation.”

More at  Gizmodo

Below, William Binney describes in detail how the whole system works.

NSA Utah Spy Center Holds Ribbon Cutting ceremony -Videos

 

 

Bonus;

NSA collecting phone records of millions – sent to secret Utah Spy Center?

Thanks to WhatFingerNews for the coverage

 

DEA has been seizing patient records without a warrant

We knew that it would soon be open season on our Medical Records. But this comes with a new twist courtesy of the DEA and local law enforcement. One could think a whole lot better time could be spent rounding up the big time mules bringing in drugs by the Millions of dollars across the border, but then we would have to secure the border and we can’t have that. I have posted before about the so-called “Administrative subpoenas.” Check out the link below. This is a dangerous turn being taken to to subvert the rule of law. Here we go:

Some disturbing news out of Texas, but it’s apparently not limited to the Lone Star State. It seems that the DEA has been investigating so-called “pill mills” to crack down on doctors getting a little too enthusiastic with their prescription pads. That’s a worthy issue to look into if it’s happening in large numbers but it comes with a built in problem. If these doctors are writing prescriptions, then by definition they must be writing them for patients. And if the DEA wants a peek at those patients’ confidential medical records they need to get a warrant.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents have been accessing personal medical files without a warrant, generating a backlash from doctors and privacy advocates who say the practice is intrusive and unconstitutional — and have taken the agency to court.

“It’s just not right,” Texas attorney Terri Moore said.

The controversial record searches are part of the government’s effort to crack down on illegal “pill mills” and prescription drug abuse. But they’ve set up a clash over privacy rights, and a legal battle is now playing out in the 5th and 9th Circuit appeals courts. Lower courts have issued conflicting rulings to date, with one backing the DEA and another demanding the agency get warrants if it wants to look at patient records.

There are two different techniques being employed by the DEA which are under examination here and they’re both bad. The first is the increasing use of administrative subpoenas to gain access to the patient records. You can read a full explanation of what an administrative subpoena is here, as well as restrictions on their use and what they are intended to capture. These are not the same as a search warrant. They’re generally used as more of an initial, background investigation of some larger, broad area of concern and can grab up records from businesses and agencies to gather information. They don’t seem to be intended to go into the personal files and papers of individuals absent probable cause, but that’s the net result of what’s going on here. Even if the feds are actually going after the doctor, they shouldn’t be accessing the health records of the patients. (And in cases like this, it’s the doctor who is the real problem, not the person getting a prescription.)

Even worse than that is the allegation that the DEA is sometimes skipping even the fig leaf of a subpoena.

Further, critics say the agency has “tricked” doctors into handing over documents by showing up with state medical board officials for searches and not identifying themselves, in turn giving the impression they’re with the board.

Mari Robinson, executive director of the Texas Medical Board, did not deny in a 2014 congressional hearing that the DEA did this on numerous occasions. She said the board often conducts joint investigations with the DEA, and “what they [DEA] do is up to them.”

Full story over at Hot Air

Early post: 

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from obtaining prescription records without a warrant in Oregon.

The state of Oregon filed suit against the DEA last year after the agency sought to access the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), a database of prescription records for certain drugs. The ACLU and its Oregon affiliate hope to join the lawsuit on behalf of patients and doctors.

In seeking to join the lawsuit on Saturday, the ACLU said the DEA’s actions violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The group argued that patients and physicians in Oregon have a “reasonable expectations of privacy in their prescription records,” and were protected from unreasonable searches.

DEA seeks presciption records without warrants

On the face of it, this does not appear to be a big story. What is important is the continuing effort to limit State’s Rights as well as our own. Forget privacy and Patient Doctor privilege. I see a more ominous future in the DEA’s march. Beware of the push for Mental Health evaluation before purchasing guns as has been suggested. Has any one ever been given a prescription for Valium when under a lot of stress? In fact, one in nine has seeked counseling some time in their life. Keep your eye out on this trojan horse and gun control.

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from obtaining prescription records without a warrant in Oregon.

The state of Oregon filed suit against the DEA last year after the agency sought to access the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), a database of prescription records for certain drugs. The ACLU and its Oregon affiliate hope to join the lawsuit on behalf of patients and doctors.

“Oregon law and the U.S. Constitution clearly require the DEA to get a warrant just like any other law enforcement agency,” David Fidanque of the ACLU of Oregon said. “The ACLU opposed the creation of the Oregon prescription database precisely because we were concerned about protecting the privacy of patients and doctors who have done nothing wrong. The Legislature agreed to add the search warrant requirement to partially address that concern.

In seeking to join the lawsuit on Saturday, the ACLU said the DEA’s actions violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The group argued that patients and physicians in Oregon have a “reasonable expectations of privacy in their prescription records,” and were protected from unreasonable searches. H/T: Raw Story (http://s.tt/1z0nS)

Smugglers ‘fire’ pot over the border by cannons

Just when we thought that any story regarding our border had faded from view, we have this. One has to give the cartel’s credit for ingenuity. A new way of getting drugs across the border. The picture below probably is a potato shooter, but a peek into the technology used. Oops, the fellows on the other side apparently didn’t show up.

cannon-pot-pneumatic

From the Atlantic Wire, via Yahoo:

Just when you thought drug running couldn’t get more extreme, U.S. border patrol officers find 33 cans of marijuana in the desert near the border that they believe were fired from a cannon in Mexico. Authorities caught wind of the new technique when they received reports of some strange canisters popping up near the Colorado River in southern Arizona recently. Agents arrived at the scene to find the cans which collectively held 85 pounds of marijuana. That’s worth $42,500 on the street. By the looks of it, the smugglers had loaded the cans into a pneumatic-powered cannon (think: potato gun) and blasted them 500 yards over the border. Bummer none of their buddies came to pick it up before the police.

This all sounds crazy, but it really does fit neatly into the broader narrative of creative drug-running schemes. Smugglers have long come up with interesting ways to hide their payload, say, in various parts of the car, and just a month ago, a Jeep full of drugs got stuck on top of the border fence in California, while literally trying to ramp over it. The smugglers managed to empty the SUV’s cargo before leaving the scene of the crime. This was only a few months after border patrol agents chased a single-seater go-cart ”painted a desert beige, fitted with knobbly off-road tires, and towing a trailer packed with 217 pounds of marijuana” through the Arizona desert. The smugglers abandoned the $100,000 or so worth of weed and fled back to Mexico, but U.S. customs got to keep the hot rod.

Continue reading>>>

H/T: Scotty Starnes’s blog

Regular Folks Fighting Civil Forfeiture Abuse

Having been a victim of Eminent Domain, I have had a keen interest in Civil forfeiture. Though not the same, the conclusion is. We usually associate it with drug dealers. Early I had posted:Government confiscation any differenet from armed robbery? But this story takes it to a new level. If anyone doubts that we are in the last days of this Republic, this should end it for you. Here tis.

Civil forfeiture—where the government can take and sell your property without ever charging you with a crime, let alone convicting you of one—is one of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation.  To make matters worse, such forfeitures often fund law enforcement officials’ budgets, given them a direct financial incentive to abuse this power.  A prime example of the civil forfeiture abuse is taking place in Tewksbury, Mass., 30 minutes outside of Boston.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Tewksbury police department are demanding the Caswells forfeit the entire property—worth more than a million dollars— because a tiny fraction of people who have stayed at the Motel Caswell during the past 20 years have been arrested for crimes.  Keep in mind, the Caswells themselves have worked closely with law enforcement officials to prevent and report crime on their property.  And the arrests the government complains of represent less than .0005 percent of the 125,000 rooms the Caswells have rented over that period of time.

The government does not allege that the Caswells have done anything illegal.  But under civil forfeiture laws, innocent people can lose their property—with no compensation whatsoever—if the government believes it was used to “facilitate a crime.”  So unless the Caswells can prove in court that they did everything they could do to prevent crime on their land, the motel—everything they have worked their lives for—will become the government’s property.  In short, civil forfeiture treats law abiding citizens worse than criminals, presuming them guilty until they can prove their innocence—a heavy burden for any property owner against the power and resources of the government.

The Motel Caswell is a family-owned budget motel in Tewksbury.  Russell and Pat Caswell have owned and operated the motel for nearly 30 years, since they took over management from Russ’s father in the 1980s.  They live next door with Pat’s 91-year-old mother, their son and daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, tending to the business.  Having survived for two generations as entrepreneurs, the Caswells have paid off the mortage on the motel and they expected it to provide a nest egg for retirement.

Precisely because it is mortgage-free, the motel has now become an attractive target for taking by federal and local law enforcement officials who seek to cash in on what the Caswells have earned.

For our legal beagles out there, this is a great run down of how this abuse occurs and the justification, go to Institute for Justice

DEA grabs Georgia’s Drug Used in Executions

Sounds like the DEA has too much time on its hands. The drug worked swell before, so why not give it another go? Any excuse for Obama to carry out his agenda. Any and all. Let me think…gee, I hope he won’t get cancer from an unapproved drug.

All Georgia executions are off after federal drug agents seized the state’s supply of a sedative used in lethal injections that has been challenged by capital punishment critics and death-row inmates, including a man recently executed who called the British exporter of the drug a “fly-by-night supplier.”

The drug was used in January to execute Emmanuel Hammond, a 45-year-old man convicted for the 1988 shotgun slaying of an Atlanta preschool teacher. His attorneys sought a delay to gather more information on how the state obtained the drug, claiming in court documents it came from a “fly-by-night supplier operating from the back of a driving school in England.” They said the drug could have been counterfeit.

The U.S. Supreme Court, as well as lower courts, rejected Hammond’s argument.

“The United States has strict drug import rules for a reason: To ensure drugs used for legitimate purposes are not adulterated, counterfeit, or diverted into the illicit market,” said Bentivoglio, who is representing death row inmate Andrew Grant DeYoung

The state’s stockpile came under more scrutiny in February when John Bentivoglio, a former deputy attorney general, asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation into whether state corrections officials violated federal law by not registering with the DEA when it imported its supply of sodium thiopental. CNS News

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