Secret Unit SOD, Division of DEA, Fabricating Criminal Investigations

The government is caught in the middle of another lie.  The lies we were told of the NSA program that is supposedly only metadata of every American’s phone records is collected and kept under lock and key.  Those little bits of information as told to the public were only numbers, the length of call, and the number being called.  Of course, we were told if the call was not to a known terrorist within the US or was not outside of the US we had nothing to worry about, right?

Thanks to Snowden, the American public is well aware now that phone companies send the government a list of “metadata” for every call made on their networks, because of a secret order by the F.I.S.A. Court.  Revelations through the leaks, that have not been denied, turned out that this collection has been going on for over seven years.  None of the leaked information to date has been denied by the National Security Agency or the administration, but rather shrugged off in more of a contemptuous attitude of what difference does it make.

Americans should be worried; even more so since the President himself assured us that “nobody is listening to our telephone calls.”  It seems that the American public just breathed a sigh of relief as they wiped their brows since it is just bits and pieces of innocuous information that no one should concern them with the right, after all, it is just metadata?

Wrong!  According to Reuters, a secretive U.S. DEA unit has been funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans without any terrorist connection or suspicions.

The DEA cases rarely involve national security risks but according to documents that Reuters were able to review the agency has been directed to conceal how the investigations were initiated from defense lawyers, prosecutors and even judges.

The documents revealed that they were undated, and instructions to federal agents were to recreatean investigative trail to legitimize the case, and effectively cover up where the information had been originated from a un-Constitutional practice.

These practices violate the defendant’s capability of a fair trial by hiding the sources of the exculpatory evidence, the actual process that the information was obtained reducing if not eliminating the defense of entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

I have never heard of anything like this at all, said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who also has served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011.

It is one thing to create special rules for national security, Gertner said. Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.

The Special Operations Division, or commonly known as SOD, is the special unit based out of Virginia, keeping its exact location secret.  Everything about this organization is secret, from the location, to who gives the orders, to how the orders are obtained, to even the investigative material’s collection.

The SOD unit is a part of the DEA that works with two dozen partner agencies within the Unit, including the FBI, CIA, IRS, NSA and the DHS.  Originally created in 1994 to combat Latin American Drug Cartels, it has grown from several dozen employees to hundreds according to the report.  The objectives of the SOD unit seem to have expanded as well, but exact work is classified, and is marked as Law Enforcement Sensitive.

According to Reuters, the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function, a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SODs involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on SOD, the functions of the unit, or how it is being implemented or information obtained by the agencies including the NSA metadata program.  However, two senior DEA officials were quick to defend the program and said that trying to “recreate” an investigation was not only legal but a technique used almost daily.

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. You’d be told only, ‘be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle. And sowed alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it, the agent said.

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using parallel construction may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

When asked about the Constitutionality of the practice of SOD many statements were obtained by Reuters in the investigation. 

That’s outrageous, said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. It strikes me as indefensible.

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.

You can’t game the system, said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?

It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years, Spelke said. Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.

One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

I was pissed, the prosecutor said. Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court. The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SODs involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

It was an amazing tool, said one recently retired federal agent. Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.

If They Come To Your Door Don’t Let Them In

I got an email from my husband, Michael, a while ago which confirmed that Russian door-to-door booksellers are going across the United States looking for children. It didn’t take much research to discover that this phenomenon is taking place all over the US since at least late June. There are reports nationwide that these people are going into neighborhoods in groups, and as individuals, on bikes and in cars, men and women, and they are going to homes that show evidence of children living in them. They are looking for playground equipment, bicycles, skates, balls and anything that indicates children’s presence. They knock on the door and hold up an extremely expensive children’s book and start asking questions.

Families who are approached all say that the person asked where they could find other homes with children inside. In Mechanicsburg, PA, hundreds of parents in the central Pennsylvania area have had “encounters” with the foreign bookseller.

They were reported in Los Angeles on July 11, and several other places across the US from Fairbanks, Alaska on June 26, rural central Illinois on June 26, and 2 undisclosed places, one on June 29th and also on July 8th, and in Pullman, WA. Today we found out they are in Harris County, Houston, TX, which is where I live. One of Steve Quayle’s readers reported it on his website.

I have been watching the alerts and news posted on about the so-called book sellers looking for all the children in the area. I had been seeing how they were hitting all the surrounding towns in Texas. I can confirm that they are in Harris County, Houston, TX today. One of them came up to our house just as my father-in-law was heading out. The woman was no more than 23 well-built and had blonde hair dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. She had a huge clipboard bigger than a standard 811. My father-in-law said the paper on it looked 1111 and had writing on the top and the bottom with about 40 names in the middle. When she came up to him she immediately asked if he was the father of the household. I had already told my father to be on the lookout for these things.

When he told her all his kids were grown and gone she pressed him to see if he had any grandchildren in the house. He told her that it was just him and his wife. She then asked if he knew other houses with kids. She was very forceful in her speech almost like she had to know. My dad said she was looking at peoples address numbers. My father had been a pastor for many years. I asked him if he felt anything spiritually wrong with her. He told me yes that she was trying to be as gooey nice as possible but that there was something dark about her voice. My daughter is an outdoors girl, and she loves to look outside. Steve it broke my heart having to tell her she can’t open her window or go outside and play. She is too young to understand. It infuriates me to no end that because of them I can’t let her go out. I try not to worry, but I guess it goes with being a parent and wanting to protect the blessing the Lord has given my wife and I. Ill email you again if I see or hear anything else.

Various details gathered from reports include: they work either by themselves or in a group; a heavy foreign–usually Russian–accent; well-built; physically fit; military mannerisms or appearance; they’re selling children’s books that are extremely expensive–sometimes reported in the $100 to $500 per book range.

They are looking for information about any children in the household, including names and ages. They are always “very persistent” in their pursuit of this information about children in the home, and if they can’t get answers they will push to find out when they can return to speak to someone else about it later. They usually ask about other families with children living in the same neighborhood. Many of these parents homeschool their children.

Several articles have been written that speculate about “child abduction rings”, but so far there is no evidence that they are affiliated with such activities. Many cities require door-to-door salesmen to get permits. Use caution when discussing your family or your neighbors with strangers that just show up in your neighborhood, especially if they are well-built and speak with an accent. If they are legitimate sales representatives they will be sponsored by someone and will have papers proving it, and they should have registered with the police or the city. Like the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Unfortunately, there are some things that can’t be cured, so it’s better to prevent it from the beginning.…