Report: DEA Surveillance Program Covers Up Information Trail

Thought the National Security Agency was the only arm of the government listening in on your phone calls? Well think again.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has its own super secret surveillance unit, and they are particularly adept at covering their tracks. The unit is called the Special Operations Division, and it operates with the cooperation of several other major agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. (It was started in the early 1990s to help fight Latin American Drug cartels.)

Reuters reports that the unit is using telephone records, wiretaps, and informants sent to them by other agencies and foreign governments to piece together criminal cases.

But more importantly, the DEA is reportedly taking the time to go back and conceal how and from whom their information was gathered —hiding the trail not only from defendants and their attorneys, but also from judges and prosecutors. In some cases, the agency has reportedly recreated trails of information, and fudged the timeline of when investigations were started.

The allegations aren't just creepy: if they're true they could also violate a defendants right to a fair trial. While federal agents defended the practice as both legal and necessary, some also acknowledge potential problems, including the possibility of obtaining information on an American citizen via a warrantless wiretap, which is illegal.