Naturally: DEA paid $850K for private info it could have gotten for free

posted at 10:01 pm on August 11, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Just perfect:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, which the DEA could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network, The Associated Press has learned.

The employee was not publicly identified except as a “secretary to a train and engine crew” in a report on the incident by Amtrak’s inspector general. The secretary was allowed to retire, rather than face administrative discipline, after the discovery that the employee had effectively been acting as an informant who “regularly” sold private passenger information since 1995 without Amtrak’s approval, according to a one-paragraph summary of the matter.

Oops:

Under a joint drug enforcement task force that includes the DEA and Amtrak’s own police agency, the task force can obtain Amtrak confidential passenger reservation information at no cost, the inspector general’s report said. Under an agreement, Amtrak police would receive a share of any money seized as a result of such drug task force investigations, and Amtrak’s inspector general concluded that DEA’s purchase of the passenger information deprived the Amtrak Police Department of money it would have received from resulting drug arrests.

So, there are so many things here. The DEA laying claim to wide swaths of confidential passenger information. Since I don’t love the activity, maybe I should at least be glad they had to pay for it, in the hopes that maybe it cut down on the amount of info they gathered? But then, they’re spending taxpayer money to dredge up info on taxpayers, so now I’m no happier. In the end, this is at once invasive and incompetent, which pretty much sums up the federal government.

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Amtrak’s inspector general concluded that DEA’s purchase of the passenger information deprived the Amtrak Police Department of money it would have received from resulting drug arrests.

They spent the money to save money… Basically they were making sure they kept all the proceeds of any takings.

astonerii on August 11, 2014 at 10:09 PM

OY.

pambi on August 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

So on the one hand AmTrak can rat out passengers to DEA, etc., on spurious grounds, and when the Feds pauperize them with “asset confiscation”, AmTrak can stick its nose in the trough for a kickback.

On the other hand, DEA isn’t into “share the wealth”, so it makes a value judgement that paying a mole inside AmTrak for intel is cheaper in the long run. Especially since said mole is paid with taxpayers’ money budgeted by Congress.

Either way, anyone who’s a big enough damn fool to ride AmTrak deserves all they get.

clear ether

eon

eon on August 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM

2 cut & paste and a paragragh. On a Monday.

Jamie Dupree covered this on Hannity today.

wolly4321 on August 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

The employee was not publicly identified …

This should be easy, even for the lazy sycophantic LSM whores — just start with a list of The Mooche’s ex-college roommates and whittle it down from there …

ShainS on August 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Money laundering (of sorts).

What is the relationship between SOMEONE at the DEA, and this Amtrak secretary ?

listens2glenn on August 11, 2014 at 10:22 PM

at once invasive and incompetent

And there it is, in a nutshell. As Buckley so insight-fully observed –

“I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

Substitute the Federal government for the Harvard faculty and this is why. Random selection would give you less risk of the stunningly invasive and incompetent government that runs too much of our lives.

Jaibones on August 11, 2014 at 10:22 PM

It’s easy to be wasteful when it’s not your money being wasted. Kinda like being an authorized user on a credit card. Get all the benefits of being a card member without any of the responsibilities.

Raquel Pinkbullet on August 11, 2014 at 10:36 PM

So the congress will keep cutting funding every time these examples of ridiculous, wasteful spending surfaces. bwaahaa, except not very funny.

arnold ziffel on August 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM

You failed to mention when you’ll be on TV next time.

I know you spent all day writing this paragragh.. but you are slipping.

Can I ask a serious question?

How old are you?

Not a question of insult, An honest query.

You see, some of us older folks .. wev’ve been through some shit,.

You youngin’s crack me up. You think you know.

Every one of your submissions should end in a question mark. as brief as they may be.

wolly4321 on August 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Start writing.

wolly4321 on August 11, 2014 at 11:00 PM

You can do it. I know you can.

Is it what yoo want to do?

I dream of your job. Spend all day just trying to stay abreast, As a citizen.

If I did it for a living, I’d be an animal.

I mean, look at AP, top of his game.

You don’t seem to want that. So it reflects in kind.
I’d kill to have your job. Not the TV part. I couldn’t run on my looks. There would have to be content.

How do you want to he known?

wolly4321 on August 11, 2014 at 11:41 PM

Privacy is dead.

myiq2xu on August 12, 2014 at 12:14 AM

So on the one hand AmTrak can rat out passengers to DEA, etc., on spurious grounds, and when the Feds pauperize them with “asset confiscation”, AmTrak can stick its nose in the trough for a kickback.

Either way, anyone who’s a big enough damn fool to ride AmTrak deserves all they get.

eon on August 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM

It’s incredible. This could be Amtrak’s slogan: “Ride Amtrak and get your personal info given to the feds!” No private train would allow this type of shenanigans that is only going to scare away passengers, especially passengers that pay for expensive premium accommodations.

For example, I myself, a while back wanted to take an enjoyable cross country train trip from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and I paid for the sleeper accommodation. Now, in our stop at Albuquerque I noticed that someone was rummaging through the stuff in my neighbor’s sleeper. I asked what was going on, and the guy said he was searching for drugs, and he added “do you have any drugs?” No. It’s amazing that my stuff wasn’t rummaged through! The whole incident was not pleasant, and it made me think I’m not going to do this again. I mean I paid a pretty good price I thought for the sleeper “first class” accommodation, and then this? Amtrack needs to be privatized. The unparalleled idiocy of the Amtrack Police jeopardizing the reputation of Amtrack so that they could get in on some of the drug $$$ from asset forfeitures is insane.

anotherJoe on August 12, 2014 at 2:13 AM

wolly4321 on August 11, 2014 at 11:41 PM

don’t like it then don’t read it.
want more content start your own site.
let us know how it goes.

dmacleo on August 12, 2014 at 7:49 AM

anotherJoe on August 12, 2014 at 2:13 AM

really CAN’T be privatized.
privates dumped passenger service and amtrak was thrust onto us to make up for them not wanting to deal with the passenger crap.

dmacleo on August 12, 2014 at 7:51 AM

should clarify my last statement, I think it should be privatized too however it would go under in a very short time.
and passenger choo choos give some people boners so…

freight pays the way :)

dmacleo on August 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

I feel so confident in our leadership.

CW on August 12, 2014 at 8:27 AM

The employee was not publicly identified except as a “secretary to a train and engine crew”

WTF? A train crew has a secretary?!? Ummm….. can anyone identify a possible start to trimming some of the costs at Amtrak? Yes, Bueler?

GWB on August 12, 2014 at 8:47 AM

The DEA is into spreading the wealth.

Kissmygrits on August 12, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Amtrak was created to keep the RR unions happy. The train crews need a secretary to fill out all the govt mandated paperwork.

Kissmygrits on August 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Having gotten tired of being molested by the TSA on the airlines, I started using AmTrak (also, I’m retired so time is not so much of an issue). Since I started riding the rails, the costs have just climbed to the point that it is no longer an affordable solution. I might have to go back to flying if I cannot drive to the location.

evie1949 on August 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Ah, now I understand why my Controlled Substances License renewal last year cost $720, when three years previously it only cost $225.

So don’t you taxpayers worry about the DEA over running their budget. We doctors will happily foot the bill. You’re welcome.

NOMOBO on August 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Every agency has to have its own SWAT team anymore, including the Library of Congress. I guess it’s better that they don’t work well together, than if they did work well together.

ss396 on August 12, 2014 at 6:13 PM