Anyone finding comfort in government assurances that the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance policies are limited to international correspondence, need only to look at the recent report by John Shiffman of Reuters that the NSA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are collaborating with information to pursue the War on Drugs. According to reports, a DEA program is run by a secret Special Operations Division (SOD) and includes creation of phony investigative trails to disguise the origin of the information.
Forget about Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign suggestions to eliminate the Departments of Education, Energy and Commerce. Taxpayers looking to eliminate counterproductive spending should consider shutting down the 40 year old DEA.
No agency in U.S. history has systematically violated more rights, contributed more to human misery and produced less results per tax dollar spent than the DEA. The latest revelation about the SOD reveals that the DEA is not only accessing NSA information but also instructing agents to constuct parallel paths of information gathering after the fact to hide the real source of information, further violating rights of defendants to a fair trial.
The DEA has been responsible for a long list of failures. They were complicit in the 2011 “Fast and Furious” scandal where the U.S. ran guns and laundered millions of dollars in drug money to Mexican drug cartels. They have continued to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries despite assurances by president Obama that such activities should not be a government priority.The latest bungling is a $4.1 million settlement agreed to for Daniel Chong, a UC San Diego student who was arrested, interrogated and forgotten for five days in a DEA interrogation room in San Diego.
The DEA has been a failure by every conceivable measurement. By the agencies own admission they intercept less than 1% of drugs entering the United States. A June 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy estimated that from 1998 to 2008 global consumption of cannabis increased by 8.5%, cocaine increased by 27% and opiates increased by 34.5%. What the DEA has accomplished is massive violations of rights against search and seizure, empowerment of gangs, terrorists and drug cartels through growth in black markets, widespread discrimination against minorities in enforcement of the laws, facilitation of corruption and drug related violence throughout the world.
Voter outrage over NSA surveillance and SOD policies are an opportunity to take a hard look at the DEA. The objective of all drug policies should be harm reduction for the drug users, not police state tactics which drain our tax dollars and fill our prisons. The DEA has demonstrated that it is ill equipped for harm reduction. Shift that roll to a different agency at a fraction of the cost. It is time to shut down the DEA.