Tags: dea | tracked | calls | across | gloge | drug | war

DEA Tracked Calls Across Globe for 20 Years as Part of Drug War

Image: DEA Tracked Calls Across Globe for 20 Years as Part of Drug War
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By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 12:20 PM

The DEA secretly tracked billions of international phone calls starting in 1992 as part of the so-called War on Drugs, and that paved the way for the sweeping surveillance programs enacted by the NSA and other federal bureaus following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The DEA admitted in a vague press release earlier this year that it had previously maintained a sweeping database of phone calls made to foreign countries, however extensive details of the program were recently revealed by an in-depth investigative report from USA Today.

The program, which began during the George H. W. Bush administration and was ended in 2013, was the U.S. government's first known program dedicated to gathering data on its citizens in bulk.

It primarily targeted high-level international drug trafficking, and was used to uncover distribution networks across countries on almost every continent. At its peak, it was monitoring calls between the U.S. and 116 other countries.

The DEA frequently notified countries it was monitoring within that it was doing so, but not always.

Reporters explained that the dragnet collected metadata from the phone calls, such as the phone numbers of those involved, as well as the time and date of the contact. The audio and contents of the calls themselves were not collected. Much of the call data could be cross-referenced with other intelligence databases to map drug routes, cartels, and involved players.

Whenever call logs led to the arrest of a suspected drug agent, "the DEA sought not to use the information as evidence in criminal prosecutions or in its justification for warrants or other searches," wrote USA Today. Intelligence was therefore routinely passed to field agents by the agency's Special Operations Division.



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The DEA secretly tracked billions of international phone calls starting in 1992 as part of the so-called War on Drugs, and that paved the way for the sweeping surveillance programs enacted by the NSA and other federal bureaus following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
dea, tracked, calls, across, gloge, drug, war
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2015-20-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 12:20 PM
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