DEA surveillance unit to be investigated by Department of Justice

The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into revelations that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses surveillance tactics – including wiretapping and massive databases of telephone records – to arrest Americans, amid growing concerns from lawyers and civil rights groups over its lack of transparency…

James Felman, vice-chair of criminal justice at the American Bar Association, said the DEA story “connects the dots” over the government’s potential abuse of phone records collected by the NSA.

Felman, an attorney in Tampa, said: “By the sound of it, this is a routine practice of using masses of information on Americans, in an erosion of constitutional protections of our citizens. This is clear evidence of things that people have been saying they are not doing. Collecting data on ordinary citizens and then concealing it officially. It is indefensible.”

“I don’t think that most people would believe that our government would be using these measures and using this excuse when they want to investigate heavy offences,” he said. “What is upsetting is that it appears to be policy and practice to consensually conceal information that should be disclosed.”