[tor-talk] Silk Road taken down by FBI

Gordon Morehouse gordon at morehouse.me
Fri Oct 4 16:03:33 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA512

Juan Garofalo:
> I'm wondering if I got this right:
> The NSA is supposed to be concerned only with 'national security' 
> issues and can't spy on 'ordinary Americans'. In practice the NSA
> spies on everyone paying no attention to 'legal' restraints.
> If the NSA happens to find the location of, say, a 'criminal' tor 
> hidden service, the NSA will forward the information to the
> pertinent 'agency', say, the DEA, and the DEA  will lie about how
> they got the information, presenting a 'plausible' alternate
> explanation. Is that how they basically operate?


"As the NSA scoops up phone records and other forms of electronic
evidence while investigating national security and terrorism leads,
they turn over "tips" to a division of the Drug Enforcement Agency
("DEA") known as the Special Operations Division ("SOD"). FISA
surveillance was originally supposed to be used only in certain
specific, authorized national security investigations, but information
sharing rules implemented after 9/11 allows the NSA to hand over
information to traditional domestic law-enforcement agencies, without
any connection to terrorism or national security investigations.

But instead of being truthful with criminal defendants, judges, and
even prosecutors about where the information came from, DEA agents are
reportedly obscuring the source of these tips. For example, a law
enforcement agent could receive a tip from SOD?which SOD, in turn, got
from the NSA?to look for a specific car at a certain place. But
instead of relying solely on that tip, the agent would be instructed
to find his or her own reason to stop and search the car. Agents are
directed to keep SOD under wraps and not mention it in "investigative
reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom
testimony," according to Reuters." [1]


"U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

(Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is
funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps,
informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities
across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of
Americans. [...]

But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to
"recreate" an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique
that is used almost daily.

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received
such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, ?Be at
a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain
vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop
that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.


After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their
investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the
former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to
this process as "parallel construction."" [2]



- -Gordon M.



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