US /


Secret DEA Unit Tips Off Police, Requests Cover-Up
Reuters reports that the SOD asks agents to re-create the info it provides
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2013 7:49 AM CDT
Updated Aug 5, 2013 7:56 AM CDT
An SOD tip could lead to a bust like this ... but the suspect may never know about that tip.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

(Newser) – If you've never heard of the SOD, that's understandable: It's the Special Operations Division, an arm of the DEA that was founded nearly two decades ago with an eye on Latin American cartels and designed to be secretive (so much so its exact Virginia location is under wraps). Why should it be on your radar? Because of this new report by Reuters, which is based on a review of documents. It finds that the division often provides tips used to nab suspected American criminals—then directs authorities to wipe the SOD's information from any subsequent case and instead "re-create the information" it provided, thereby masking the source of the tip from defendants and even prosecutors and judges. And that, Reuters explains, could violate a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial, because it fouls up pretrial discovery rules.

Reuters gives this example of how it plays out, in a process known as "parallel construction": The SOD tips off federal agents about a drug suspect who will be at a specific truck stop at a specific time in a specific car. Those agents tell state police, who pull over the car—with a drug dog in tow. But in the case against the suspect, the agents will state that the investigation began with the lucky traffic stop. DEA officials call parallel construction a "bedrock concept" that's used daily. But a former federal judge is troubled. "It sounds like they are phonying up investigations." And she sees it as more worrying than the revelations about NSA spying. "It is one thing to create special rules for national security. Ordinary crime is entirely different." Click for the full report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Secret DEA Unit Tips Off Police, Requests Cover-Up is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 44 comments
Aug 7, 2013 9:16 PM CDT
I love how little the Constitution applies to law enforcement. That "Law of the land" crap is just propaganda for suckers who don't have a badge.
Aug 5, 2013 9:22 PM CDT
This is how NDAA military arrest of civilians will happen. Multi-agency, no right to trial (article 1022)
Aug 5, 2013 3:22 PM CDT
Really Judge? Ordinary crime constitutional violations are worse than those dealing with national security? Does not national security also include domestic terrorists? Were not the founders seriously worried about the tyranny of a corrupt state? The state that they lived under? In my political understanding there is no difference. Back in the George Bush era, protest groups had their homes raided, their attorneys handcuffed and more all without any govt transparency or due process. This drug investigation violation is quite possibly only the now revealed act of many similar acts perpetrated by our govt. It clearly is a police state tactic though.