February 4, 2014
Last summer, Reuters revealed how the NSA and other surveillance organizations would share info with the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, but then tell them to reconstruct the evidence via a process called “parallel construction,” so that the surveillance would not then be discussed in court. This is highly questionable, and probably illegal, as a defendant has the right to know all of the evidence being used against him or her, and should also be told how that evidence was gathered, to make sure the collection was legal. But what’s being done with parallel construction, is that the intelligence community is able to give “hints” to law enforcement, allowing them to come up with various pretenses for an investigation, avoiding ever having to reveal that the NSA or others used potentially illegal surveillance efforts. One example given in that Reuters report was how DEA agents would suddenly be given a tip like this: “Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.” The DEA would then have the local police come up with some pretense to stop the truck… and then when evidence is found they can claim it was a random traffic stop, when the reality is anything but that.
After the Reuters report, C.J. Ciaramella used Muckrock to request all DEA training material and official policies concerning “parallel construction” and recently received nearly 300 pages of documents, much of it redacted, but still which reveals that this is common practice at the DEA and widely known.
So if you’re on a jury, you should know that the DEA has spent a lot of time planning how to lie to you, and resolve any doubts with that in mind.