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Privacy Government United States

Prosecutors Halt Vast, Likely Illegal DEA Wiretap Operation (usatoday.com) 69

schwit1 writes: Prosecutors in a Los Angeles suburb say they have dramatically scaled back a vast and legally questionable eavesdropping operation, built by federal drug agents, that once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps. The wiretapping, authorized by prosecutors and a single state-court judge in Riverside County, alarmed privacy advocates and even some U.S. Justice Department lawyers, who warned that it was likely illegal. An investigation last year by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY found that the operation almost certainly violated federal wiretapping laws, while using millions of secretly intercepted calls and texts to make hundreds of arrests nationwide. Riverside's district attorney, Mike Hestrin, acknowledged being concerned by the scope of that surveillance, and said he enacted "significant" reforms last summer to rein it in. Wiretap figures his office released this week offer the first evidence that the enormous eavesdropping program has wound down to more routine levels.
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Prosecutors Halt Vast, Likely Illegal DEA Wiretap Operation

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  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:06PM (#51595367)

    For anyone responsible to even see a trial.

    --
    https://technet.microsoft.com/... [microsoft.com]

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:09PM (#51595393)
    yeah, it's OK when it's routine. that's what i tell my wife.
    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      It's acceptable to your wife that you routinely sleep with your mistress? Got it.
      (Had to reword that 4 times for the joke to come across.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    they got enough "evidence" to construct [wikipedia.org] the cases they were looking for (i.e. enough to make the agents in charge 'look good').. and of course, they only stopped once they themselves got caught... and it took them months, to do that.

  • by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:38PM (#51595549)

    The DEA can go fuck themselves, as far as I'm concerned. Since their inception, they've been some of the worst abusers of the US population to date. They're huge proponents of such treats as early dawn no-knock raids, parallel construction (institutionalized perjury), the use of Stingray type devices, and the list goes on.

    As soon as we end this neo-prohibitionist bullshit and the jackbooted thugs that get off on it, we can have a better shot of rebuilding our country.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @07:59PM (#51595655) Journal

      The DEA can go fuck themselves, as far as I'm concerned. Since their inception, they've been some of the worst abusers of the US population to date. They're huge proponents of such treats as early dawn no-knock raids, parallel construction (institutionalized perjury), the use of Stingray type devices, and the list goes on.

      You can add property seizures without due process to the list, too.

    • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @08:00PM (#51595661)

      As soon as we end this neo-prohibitionist bullshit and the jackbooted thugs that get off on it, we can have a better shot of rebuilding our country.

      I wouldn't hold my breath. Cannabis was outlawed in many/most states from the mid-1930's until recently - and is still today outlawed in most states. That's 85 years. Federally it was (ludicrously) categorized as a Schedule 1 Substance by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which is still in effect 46 years later. Category 1 is the same category as highly dangerous and addictive opioids and stimulants, as well as powerful psychedelics.

      The Prohibition of alcohol only lasted 13 years.

      • I wouldn't hold my breath.

        That's where you are going wrong. Next time hold your breath for at least a few seconds.

      • by bmo ( 77928 )

        The Prohibition of alcohol only lasted 13 years.

        That's because marijuana prohibition was and is explicitly racist by implementation.

        Go read the reasons why it was instituted.

        "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

        âoeReefer makes darkies think they're as good as wh

      • Cannabis was outlawed in many/most states from the mid-1930's until recently - and is still today outlawed in most states. That's 85 years.

        US Supreme Court rules gay marriage is legal nationwide [bbc.com]

        Change can happen very quickly. If Americans decide to go for Sanders/Hillary, it very probably will (via the SC).

  • by Rujiel ( 1632063 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @08:04PM (#51595691)
    Acquire evidence illegally, then use it to find something else you can burn the black guy over. The DEA is immoral and deceptive to its core, pretending to be an enemy of drugs all the while knowing damn well that if there were no drugs, there would be no DEA.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess I'm in the minority that see government agencies who break our laws, as far worse than individual criminals. Sure drug dealers are bad, but secret goverment surveillance on millions of US citizens is far worse.

    Who is protecting US citizens from our goverment? It should not be OK for goverment officials to break laws, then simply "dial back" when caught red handed, with no fear of public trials like other citizens who use illegal wire taps. I thought we just had once Constitution and one set of la

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @08:23PM (#51595797) Homepage Journal

    They say ignorance of the law is no excuse. When can we expect the prosecutions of those who broke the law to begin? Or all the retrials for convictions based on illegal evidence?

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @11:27PM (#51596535)

    So 42 years of the DEA, and we're still fighting "The War on Drugs". War is hell, I guess. While we're fighting, we're coming to the realization that maybe marijuana really isn't a danger, that it isn't worth the effort to chase down and prosecute stoners and weed farmers. Is what the DEA is doing to our civil liberties, here and in other countries, really better than the alternative of just letting people do drugs? It doesn't sound like the DEA is stopping anybody who really wants to smoke or shoot up. Here in S.E. Massachusetts we have rampant opioid overdose problems, and that situation exists in a lot of places in the U.S. Maybe, just maybe, it is a demand problem instead of a supply problem?

    If we took a fraction of the money that goes to the DEA and actually spent it on something useful, like decriminalizing and properly treating addiction as the medical condition it really is , demand would drop, street prices would drop, and the incentive to perpetrate criminal activities associated with the drug trade would dry up. People would be healthier, not living in prisons on the taxpayers dime, and we wouldn't have to pay taxes to a TLA to butt rape our constitutional freedoms anymore.

  • Honestly. If they were breaking the law this long, how is ANYTHING coming out of this operation NOT "fruit of the poisonous tree"?

  • The worst thing about this egregious program, and for that matter,all the big "tap them all!" programs, is that this one didn't even dent crime.

    Riverside, the most monitored place in the US outside of a prison cell, had no less crime than anywhere else in the LA area. So it did NOTHING.

    Fuckers. You take away our privacy in the name of protecting us but you fail to actually even do that, and yet we're left without our privacy and nobody holds you accountable for lying and failing to do your apparently job.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:27AM (#51597839)

    OK, we've got "Murphy's Law" and a dozen more like it. We need to come up with a name now for a law that says something like, "Every time you hand power over to the cops, they will promise to use it responsibly, then not merely violate the trust you put in them, but pull its pants down and gang-rape it 'til it bleeds".

    There has never once, not ever, been a time when this has not been true. Legalize drugs...all drugs...and fire about half of every police force and letter agency right on the spot.

  • Who's going to jail? Are the people arrested getting out of jail? What steps will they take to prevent this? What law will be amended so that it is absolutely clear this is not tolerated?

I don't want to be young again, I just don't want to get any older.

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