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FBI and DEA under review for use of NSA mass surveillance data


The Justice Department is investigating the FBI’s use of information taken directly from mass surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA)’s collection of telephone metadata.

The yield of that NSA spying program was described by a judge as a “staggering” amount of data when the agency’s ability to collect it was struck down as illegal in court earlier this year. The program was resumed in June and will run until at least December.

Another ongoing Justice Department investigation is examining the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s use of “parallel construction.”

Parallel construction is a controversial investigative technique that takes information gained from sources like the NSA’s mass surveillance, covers up or lies about the sources, and then utilizes them in criminal investigations inside the United States. The information was passed to other federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The technique was described as “decades old, a bedrock concept” by a DEA official.

Critics at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) described the technique as “intelligence laundering” designed to cover up “deception and dishonesty” that ran contrary to the original intent of post-9/11 surveillance laws.


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