SOD: Violating Americans’ Privacy Isn’t Just for the NSA Anymore

On Monday Reuters obtained exclusive information about another, horrifying infringement on American’s Constitutional rights; not the NSA’s pretext that a gross invasion of our privacy serves “national defense.” This time the DEA is funneling data from “from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records” to jurisdictions across the country on anyone and everyone, unconstitutionally, to help federal, state and local authorities open domestic cases. In secret.

The unit responsible for this outrage is called the Special Operations Division, referred to as SOD. If British slang is credible, the acronym fits. According to Reuters, SOD’s members have been gleaned from over two dozen “partner” agencies which include the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. SOD has an annual budget estimated at $125 million with hundreds of employees. SOD’s work is classified and even its physical location, somewhere in Virginia, is clandestine.

The SOD documents Reuters reviewed present evidence that 1) “law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.” And:

2) The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence — information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

Simply put, “recreation” equals “fabrication.” Manipulated evidence is contaminated evidence. It has been falsified.

Reuters quotes from “Law Enforcement Sensitive” documents they’ve examined: “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function…” The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use ‘normal investigative techniques’ to recreate the information provided by SOD.

About the author: Marilyn Assenheim

Marilyn Assenheim was born and raised in New York City. She spent a career in healthcare management although she probably should have been a casting director. Or a cowboy. A serious devotee of history and politics, Marilyn currently lives in the NYC metropolitan area.

View all articles by Marilyn Assenheim

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