DEA Halting That Secret Data Collection Program You Didn’t Know About
January 20th, 2015 | by Kevin James Krotz
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has announced that it will be halting a secret, almost 15-year program that saw the collection of nearly all data on international calls between the United States and certain countries, according to documents and officials.
According to Reuters, the program, which was run by the DEA’s Special Operations Division, collected international US phone records to create a database used for domestic criminal case, not national security investigations. DEA shared their information with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, IRS, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies.
“The American people deserve to know that the DEA engaged in the bulk collection of their international phone records in routine criminal investigations without judicial review,” said Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who had urged the DEA to end the program. “We must continue to make progress in restoring the privacy rights of all Americans while keeping our country safe.”
Reuters reports that two people who were briefed on the program, said it began somewhere in the late 1990s. A Justice Department spokesman has said that the DEA no longer collects the data and that “all of the information has been deleted.”