<p>Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240</p>
In what many have called a blatant abuse of power that strips Americans of their fundamental constitutional rights, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other agencies to spy on American citizens in the name of the War on Drugs. Moreover, according to an exclusive Reuters investigation, DEA agents are actively creating fake investigative trails to disguise where the information originated, a scheme that prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and others are arguing has robbed defendants of their right to a fair trial. Hundreds or thousands of cases could be affected.
“The DEA increasingly qualifies as a rogue agency – one that Congress needs to immediately investigate,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This latest scandal may well be just the tip of the iceberg.”
The scandal, which comes in the wake of revelations that the federal government’s is collecting sensitive information on hundreds of millions of innocent Americans, is just one crisis of credibility the DEA faces. Other DEA scandals include:
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s creation of the DEA. Critics of the War on Drugs note that over the last 40 years Congress has rarely held hearings on the DEA, its actions, and its efficacy. Three presidential administrations have conducted reviews of whether it would be more efficient and better for public safety to merge the DEA with the FBI (Carter, Reagan, and Clinton) but Congress has never seriously explored the issue.
“It’s remarkable how little scrutiny the DEA faces from Congress or other federal overseers,,” said Nadelmann. “With an annual budget of over $2 billion as well as significant discretionary powers, DEA certainly merits a top-to-bottom review of its operations, expenditures and discretionary actions.”