Tags: Edward Snowden | dea | phone calls | surveillance | edward snowden | drug trafficking

DEA Stopped Its Phone Surveillance Work After Snowden's Leaks

By    |   Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 07:32 AM

Renegade National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden torpedoed a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) metadata phone surveillance operation without even intending to, according to Defense One.

On orders from Attorney General Eric Holder, the DEA closed the operation in September 2013, several months after Snowden began leaking classified documents. The DEA effort, which had began in 1992, collected rudimentary data like numbers and call duration — though not actual content — on virtually all international phone calls.

USA Today reported Tuesday that the DEA began collecting the information on calls made by U.S. citizens to 116 countries — Canada, Mexico, parts of Europe and virtually all of Central and South America — deemed to be possible drug-trafficking threats on orders from the George H.W. Bush Justice Department.

By revealing the NSA's surveillance program, Snowden made it hard for DEA to pursue its own separate and secret mass-surveillance program for anti-drug law enforcement.

The Justice Department decided it could not defend both the national security intercepts and DEA's routine program, so it preemptively terminated the anti-drug operation.

The DEA program was, in any case,  more problematic because it relied on administrative subpoenas rather than national security court approvals, according to USA Today.

Sources told USA Today that the material gathered by DEA yielded "a treasure trove of very important information on trafficking."

According to Defense One, Snowden and his "enthusiasts" will be delighted to know that his disclosures prompted the Justice Department to end a surveillance program that he was not even responsible for exposing.

The Associated Press reported last month that even before Snowden began exposing government secrets, some NSA officials had begun considering ending the collection of metadata, arguing that the costs outweighed the benefits.

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Renegade National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden torpedoed a Drug Enforcement Administration metadata phone surveillance operation without even intending to, according to Defense One.
dea, phone calls, surveillance, edward snowden, drug trafficking
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2015-32-09
Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 07:32 AM
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