back to article US drug squad cops: We snooped on innocent Americans' phone calls too!

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has admitted that for years it kept a secret log of phone calls made by American citizens calling overseas. Much like the secret NSA and FBI databases, the DEA got its information under subpoena from American telecommunications companies, irrespective of whether or not the target …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ultimately terminated?

    Really?

    I have dumped all of my friends that say " but it makes us safe".

    1. BillG
      Happy

      Re: Ultimately terminated?

      "The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers" a DoJ spokesperson noted in the political blog The Hill.

      ...adding, "Trust us, we wouldn't lie to you TWENTY times in a row, would we?"

  2. Florida1920
    Facepalm

    I only regret

    I don't have any friends in Iran I could have called.

  3. earl grey
    Flame

    how many of them went to jail

    Not the callers; the lying bastards in the DEA.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: how many of them went to jail

      Remember how the NSA and the DEA were besties illegally sharing info illegally ? Why would this shock any one,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: how many of them went to jail

        We torture prisoners, so why should our government care about privacy rights

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: earl grey Re: how many of them went to jail

      "how many of them went to jail.....the lying bastards in the DEA." I see you skim-read right past the bit about subpoenas, as in legal warrants signed by a court? If they had a subpoena then the DEA agents involved will not be going to court.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: earl grey how many of them went to jail

        I presume that the reason they terminated the program was that it was 100% legal under the U.S. Constitution.

        Or ???

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: earl grey how many of them went to jail

        The whole point is anything that contradicts the constitution is supposed to be invalid.

        1. Constitution

        2. (Ratified - don't count otherwise even if they sign it at the time) Treaties

        3. Anything else

        Anything from 3 is not supposed to be able to override 1 or 2. Only way to override 1 is to change it via an amendment.

        It is a good system problem is in practice it seems to be ignored.

        If this is incorrect then please amend.

      3. SolidSquid

        Re: earl grey how many of them went to jail

        Subpoena != warrant and don't even necessarily have to be issued by a court, just a government body. The National Security Letters which were issued (and arguably abused) by the FBI to force people to cooperate and keep silent about it were subpoenas issued by the FBI without going through the courts. There's nothing here suggesting the subpoenas were issued by courts as opposed to the DEA itself

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: SolidSquid Re: earl grey how many of them went to jail

          "Subpoena != warrant and don't even necessarily have to be issued by a court, just a government body....." You are referring to administrative subpoenas which are tightly controlled. The DEA is allowed to use them for investigating commercial drug manufacturers (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_subpoena), not for general investigations into drug smuggling and not for wiretaps, so I suspect you will find this was not an administrative subpoena.

          ".....The National Security Letters which were issued (and arguably abused) by the FBI...." The article refers to the DEA, not the FBI. Do please try and stay on topic.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers.

    The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers.

    "The", thy, the implicit 1. Reads with that substitution...

    One agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers.

      I suspect the last quote may have been stripped too

      It has not been active nor searchable since September 2013, and all of the information has been deleted... from our servers.

      Suspect there's likely a 'backup' elsewhere, even if only to allow comparison against the NSA's database.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers.

        New programme, copy the data from the old programme, close down the old programme, carry on with the new programme, Bob's your uncle...

  5. Katie Saucey
    Mushroom

    The program was suspended in September 2013 and ultimately terminated..

    Sure thing federales "Say hallo to my little friend!"

    It's a sad state of affairs when my mom actually reversed her stance on "if you have nothing to to hide...etc" and apologized for suggesting I might be a tinfoiler. I'm sure the recent events in the old world, and the idiots in office (CAN/US incl) are not going to help one bit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who isn't slurping up metadata in the Land of the Free?

    i'm not?

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Who isn't slurping up metadata in the Land of the Free?

      And we know this how? Because you said so?

      Hmmmmm...

  7. abit

    DEA(d)

    One way the DEA could might eventually triumph is by Enforcing drugs on the US population. By scaling back the insurance power-houses, replacing free syringes for cocaine-addicts with free cholesterol and blood-pressure medications for the rest of us. Duh

    The DEA is basically saying they are at fault on privacy concerns - like an atheist confessing to the Pope. How about the metric tons of pure cocaine by subs, and soon jets and spaceships?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: DEA(d)

      " How about the metric tons of pure cocaine by subs, and soon jets and spaceships?"

      Legalising the stuff would pretty much destroy all that trade. The reason narco-gangs ship drugs and kill people is that there are insane levels of profit to be made. The gang wars were never about drugs, it was always money.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "The program was suspended in September 2013 and ultimately terminated,"

    Was that before or after they started getting data from the NSA directly.?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter

    They probably break down the neighbor's door by accident, as they toss Flash-Bang grenades towards anyone nearby.

  10. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    " ... and all of the information has been deleted"

    Who, particularly DB managers, actually believe this statement?

    It's been my experience that database managers are the biggest Magpies around ... less heartbreaking to buy a bigger, better, hard drive than to delete treasured, aged, junk.

    And the US Government must be one of the worst offenders.

  11. Mad Chaz

    "The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers."

    In other words, we've hired a third party private company (staffed by friends of XYZ) to do it for us. It's more expensive, but it allows us to say we're not doing it ourselves anymore.

    1. Medixstiff

      "The agency is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from US service providers."

      Because once Edward Snowden showed us what the NSA's been hoarding, we thought why invent the wheel, let's get the mother load from the NSA.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First, terrorist, then child molesters, now drug users. It is just a matter of time before the US government starts looking at people who they think oppose government policies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They AREADY do....

      They are called Republicans. We oppose the Obama Administration in every way because EVERYTHING he has EVER SAID is a lie. Then they sick the IRS on us and our political action committees.

  13. codejunky Silver badge

    They have stopped

    It does suggest that they knew they were doing wrong and it was completely unacceptable. But the thought only crossed their minds when they could be exposed for it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is not news

    I live in Baton Rouge, on I-10 - the main (and only interstate) that runs directly from Texas (and thus the Mexican border) to the Eastern coast of the US. The local newspaper regularly reports drivers on the interstate stopped for minor offenses like changing lanes without indicating and the police finding large amounts of drugs in their vehicle after "becoming suspicious" and searching the vehicles.

    It happens so often, and the discoveries are so fortuitous, that the only rational explanation is that someone, somewhere, is telling the local police to be on the lookout for specific people and vehicles - or cell-phones, traveling through Baton Rouge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is not news

      Snowden exposed that but people didn't seem to understand what it meant. It means there is no right to free travel, to privacy, and no right to due process.

      The "parallel" investigation created to use in the legal system in such cases can result in even the arresting officer not being aware that he is part of a shadow system that answers to no one other than itself.

      And even though no one can challenge the data released by Snowden, or the confessions of groups like the NSA, DEA, and others, there are still people saying those suggesting the government would act as we know they do, create evidence based on secret saved surveillance data, lie and have others lie to courts and congress, are just tin foil hatters.

      I guess that shows the seriously deluded are still thinking there are no conspiracies, even after the largest of conspiracies involving thousands and hundreds of thousands of people has been exposed. Actually those yelling ignore conspiracy theories might be on to something, or rather on something.

    2. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: This is not news

      As opposed to that minor back road, I-20? As far as your explanation being the only explanation, not really. Yes, I am sure that local and state police forces get tips from the feds, but I doubt every drug bust flows down from information gathered outside their respective departments (legal or otherwise).

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: AC Re: This is not news

      ".....and the police finding large amounts of drugs....." So, if I understand you right, the police are catching drug smugglers red-handed, no-one else is being impacted (unless you count the drug addicts and drug lords), and you're complaining.....?

  15. tekHedd

    Oh, we don't do that any more!

    "We stopped doing that." Before, you said you weren't doing it. Why should I belive you now?

  16. Stefan Leslie

    This has been known for a while

    It's been Internet "knowledge" for quite some time now that the 3 letter agencies will snoop on American calls to foreign destinations.

    For all the fuss, very few people bother to learn how to PGP, so people can't think it is *that* important.

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