IRS Also Secretly Got Intelligence Info And Was Told To Launder It

from the this-isn't-going-to-end-well dept

Reuters continues to reveal incredible details of how the intelligence community (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.) has been sharing information with other government agencies -- mainly via the DEA's Special Operations Division (SOD) and then telling those who use that info to do law enforcement work to "launder" their own investigation to hide where they got the information from. The example given was that, perhaps, the FBI or the NSA might provide the SOD with information about a truck likely to have drugs. SOD then tells other DEA agents to look for "this kind of truck in this truck stop," and then the DEA has local police stop the truck on a traffic violation, leading to a "random" search and voila, drug trafficker arrested.

The latest is that apparently, the DEA's SOD isn't just giving this info to DEA agents... but also to other agencies, including the IRS, who is again instructed to "launder" where the evidence came from in order to hide that it was the result of intelligence gathering.
A 350-word entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the U.S. tax agency to omit any reference to tips supplied by the DEA's Special Operations Division, especially from affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files. The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and was removed in early 2007. The IRS is among two dozen arms of the government working with the Special Operations Division, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

An IRS spokesman had no comment on the entry or on why it was removed from the manual. Reuters recovered the previous editions from the archives of the Westlaw legal database, which is owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, the parent of this news agency.
This is almost certainly unconstitutional, as a due process violation, by hiding the evidence used to arrest someone. Furthermore, even if you think that it's reasonable that if the FBI or NSA comes across some details of, say, a tax cheat or a drug deal, that they should pass that info along to a relevant agency, at best you could make an argument that this made sense when those investigations were narrow and targeted at wrongdoing. Yet, as we've seen, surveillance capabilities for both the NSA and FBI have been expanding rapidly, such that nowadays they're collecting information on absolutely everyone. When you have information on everyone, it's not hard to construct "patterns" that can be passed along to various agencies for the purpose of directly targeting individuals. The risk of abuse of this kind of information gathering and information sharing is tremendous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Here goes the dominos.

    Now we're going to see the rage of the general public. That will get Senators and Representatives looking at this much deeper. Scooping up calls and emails to protect people from terrorists is one thing. Snooping on them about their taxes is something else entirely.

    This also puts in perspective the stories back from April about the IRS having access to emails without warrants.

     

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  2.  
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    assemblerhead (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    @Josh in CharlotteNC

    It would be interesting to see the reaction of those who have purchased "immunity to prosecution" from the politicians. Especially those who paid for immunity to the IRS. Will they now have to "pay up" twice?

    And what about the "Congress Critters"? Having the IRS in a position to "take them to the cleaners" can't be comfortable for them.

    There might be a backlash for the US Gov on this...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Now, if the intel was evidence of terrorist attacks it'd be reasonable to conceal how you got the evidence but that should only be for agencies whose jusidiction relates to national security and certainly not for any evidence relevent to the IRS

     

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  4.  
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    Michael, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    This is good news

    A 350-word entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the U.S. tax agency to omit any reference to tips

    I'm pretty sure that this means that people in the US that make money from tips no longer have to pay taxes on that income.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Just tell SOD to sod off.

     

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  6.  
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    JWW (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Forget risk

    Forget about there being a risk that the government will misuse their surveillance information, what we're seeing now is proof that the government is misusing their surveillance information.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Re: This is good news

    I wish it worked that way, because "tipping wars" are the primary reason for Internet flameouts.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    At this point I think we can safely assume every domestic agency is getting the NSA info, including DHS (oh - especially DHS!), FBI, and more.

    Can we start IMPEACHING people already? I mean when does the American revolution start already? When we learn that FBI has been have been "taking out" people in US for years, or something? Sadly, I think even then Americans won't rise, because in their delusional minds they'll probably still think "Yeah, but it's not as bad as Russia or China yet! So it's okay"

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Everything contributes to Terrorism

    This is why they've been claiming that counterfeiting and copyright infringement are contributing to terrorism - so they can justify using the information they're collecting to go after copyright infringers.

    The same way they've claimed that drug trafficking is linked to terrorism so they can use it for that purpose as well...

    It's clear they're creating these links to fulfill their needs. I'm sure that once they've determined that terrorists are 4 or 5 hops away from drug traffickers, they can convince their FISA court that they need to collect information on all drug users and 2-3 hops away from each of those people.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    The interesting question is if the IRS is still doing that seeing as the manual entry was apparently removed in 2007.

    Also I would remind people that the IRS has a Criminal Investigation Division. Those are the people we're hoping will pay the people behind Prenda Law a visit. The IRS CID is also the most likely recipient of tips, not people doing run of the mill processing, auditing, or reviewing applications for tax exempt status, exceptions for pension plans, etc.

    So in theory this, like the stopping of drug traffickers, is aimed at wrongdoing. Large scale fraud and tax evasion and the like.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    this spying has gotten way out of hand! there appears to be not a single government agency or department that hasn't been either monitoring or spying on everyone, everywhere, in the US themselves, or has been receiving, spoon fed, the information they asked for or wanted from one of these agencies. this is absolutely disgraceful! and to then 'doctor' the information so that when taking someone to court or to task, no one can say where the information came from! this is worse than whatever else has gone on in the past, surely? no one at all has been afforded any privacy in even the remotest form! everyone has had their freedom violated on multiple fronts, from multiple directions. probably for no legitimate reason other than it was available, everyone has had their lives put under a spotlight of one or more security agency and has had a profile done on them covertly, no permission asked for, no permission given because someone somewhere thinks it is a good idea and that no one has the right to question it even if they did find out about it! apart from everything else wrong with this, IT IS SICK! AND THOSE THAT HAVE CONDONED THIS ARE EVEN MORE SICK!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    As a small time (not wealthy) individual the CIA, DEA, FBI, NSA,DEA and a host of other genetically called Alphabet Soup Agencies are called more formally Government. Government includes Federal, State, County, and local including all subdivisions there of such as school districts.

    On the other side we have corporations such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Face Book et who have willingly or unwillingly joined into a conspiracy to (in their terminology) data mine by disregarding all computer fraud acts or (in street logo) out and out steel all information be that political, financial or what ever from all public and private sources.

    Combining the government and corporate together was called mercantilism in the 19 century. In the first part of the 20th adding mercantilism together with political parties having their own police power the European fascism system came into being.

    Back in the USA we have the intelligence community combined with the military in an attempt to provide world wide US police power of all other countries, combined with the DEA, FBI, IRS, and SS (US Secret Service) in am attempt to provide world wide police power against the individual, be that US citizens or not, in an attempt to remove all notions of freedom and wealth by some form of exploration by what is called taxation. The latter becomes interesting when the target of the tax exploration is not a US citizen and not in the US. Putting all this together one name that is given this is totalitarianism. There are other names but the meaning is always much the same.

    Remember those corporations one of which is Microsoft. Now not having any specifics could it be that what really happened here is that the government helped propagate a world wide 90+% monopoly of desktop computers use of the Microsoft operating system in order for said government agencies to spy on all domestic and foreign computers. If that is true then we have a full and complete explanation of why the Microsoft monopoly trial went belly up. The government was in collusion with Microsoft. Microsoft provided the back doors; the government provided the monopoly. Well, that tells up what the government got, back doors but what could Microsoft have gotten. If there are back doors and if there are computers on wall street then all one would have to do is know the back doors to know what is going on on wall street. Wait, isn't that exactly what Bloomberg did with the Bloomberg terminals and the Bloomberg news reporters?

    Now we know why Snowden revelations are so damning. He not only exposed how the government has acquired back doors to all computers but also that the computer wheels can use these back doors to manipulate a few small organizations like world wide central banks, world wide banks and trading firms, data mining of world wide technical data.

    And we thought Wall Street stock insider trading for a few billionaires was a big deal. That is nothing to having world wide insider financial data and world wide inside military data.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Re: Everything contributes to Terrorism

    /insightful

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    This seems kind of obvious ....

    I know this seems kind of obvious, but has anyone done a google search to see if any of the 350 word section in the IRS, FBI, or the DEA manuals are available anywhere else online?

    It might show which other agencies are using DEA information for investigations.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Let me get this right !!!

    All this happened in 2005/2006 ???

    WOW, you're really ahead of the curve on this one !

     

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  16.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re:

    if the intel was evidence of terrorist attacks it'd be reasonable to conceal how you got the evidence


    It may be reasonable to conceal exactly how you got the evidence, but it is never reasonable to lie about it or to conceal that it came from national surveillance activities in general.

     

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  17.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Re:

    So in theory this, like the stopping of drug traffickers, is aimed at wrongdoing


    Of course. But even if that's really the only use this is put to, it still doesn't make it OK

     

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  18.  
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    Zos (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Re:

    sure we will. i'm not holding my breath.

     

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  19.  
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    Crusty the ex-clown, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Something smells ....

    So why didn't they squelch HSBC's money laundering operations? Why haven't there been any published stories on NSA surveillance reining in big investment banks or catching the banks rigging LIBOR year after year? Are they ignoring large banks, or are they in bed with them, or are they trading on the insider information they acquire via their taps? This screams for oversight.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re:

    The ends do not justify the means.
    Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

     

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  21.  
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    spixleatedlifeform (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Interesting years (as in the ancient Chinese curse)

    Couldn't help notice that these policies were intro'd in 2005/6 (Neo-con Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government) but as soon as they lost the Senate, the policy was removed from the books (also doesn't mean these policies have been abandoned, they're just not as blatant).

    Now who'd've thunk it, that the stalwarts of Big Brotherism would turn out to be Republicans and the blue dog-turd Dems (also conservative)? Certainly not us who survived Watergate.

    Rabid Fundamentalism and political power. Geesh! No wonder Ol' Barry Goldwater left the Party of the Grands. (Have wondered ever since what took him so long.)

    SPLF

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re:

    I never said it did. I'm just trying to keep people considering this in the proper context of genuine criminal investigations, of genuine criminals, being the thing most likely impacted. Rather than have them go off on wild tangents about the possibility of the government spying on the average tax payer boasting to his friends about not reporting a 1000 dollars of income, or some other such small fry infraction.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    Even a "Terrorist Attack" isn't good enough, it has to be via the investigation of an organized foreign group such as other nations or large nation-less political groups. We should not accept this type of surveillance simply to find the lone wolf in a haystack. That just opens the doors to suspect everyone of crime.

     

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  24.  
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    Nah, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:07am

    Or they planted the drugs in the first place

    Didn't it dawn on any of the police that they could be helping the spooks plant drugs to fake a crime?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uKY_Hk4gRU

    i.e.
    NSA wants someone taken down, spook plants drugs. Tip given to police, police fake 'random' stop and arrest then for the drugs. Covering up the involvement of the covert force.

    Defendant can't protest that this is a plot from the spooks because the the stop was random.

     

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  25.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Well looks like we're all screwed

    First we get word of the IRS targeting conservitive groups. Now we have them information laundering. And from what I've read they are going to be involved in ObamaCare.
    God bless the USA. God help the USA.

     

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  26.  
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    Nah, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    The police have something to hide

    Oh, and the police with a conscience should consider their position now.

    The NSA has dirt on them, they are party to a crime. Even if it was an accurate tip obtained in good faith, concealing evidence is still a crime.

    So if they might want to admit to any arrests they thought were fit-ups by the spooks, they'd better remember that they could be the next one to be leaked on.

    They *do* have something to hide, the NSA does have that paper-trail.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    Isn't everything the IRS does aimed at wrongdoing? They don't audit people because they think their taxes are in perfect order do they?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Something smells ....

    Because if there were published stories about NSA surveillance reining in anything other than terrorism it would be bad for the NSA?

     

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  29.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    OK, but I'm not sure why that's at all relevant.

     

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  30.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Prepare to be disgusted:

    From what I heard one time(I believe it was a quote from a government official), the reason they don't go after fraud or illegal actions by banks is that the larger ones are considered 'too big to fail', and that affecting them too much could have massive repercussions on the economy.

    What this means in practical terms is that once a bank reaches a large enough size, they are for all intents and purposes completely immune to prosecution, no matter what they do.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Notorious Soul Absorbers

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re:

    That depends, do you think routine tax collection, processing of applications for tax exempt status, processing requests for exemptions from pension plan requirements, and all the other routine work required to keep tax collection flowing smoothly; are aimed at wrong doing?

    Or did you think that audits, fraud investigations, and tax evasion investigations were all the IRS did, and the rest of the tax infrastructure just magically ran itself?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To keep people from wasting time going on about wild conspiracy theories about the IRS targeting individuals for audits based on illegal tips, when the actual likely impact (assuming they haven't stopped covering the start of the investigation) is folks like Prenda escaping punishment thanks to due process violations. Case in point the guy just below that seems to think that audits are all that the IRS does. People like that need a reminder that the people doing the every day processing of tax returns, the people doing routine audits, and the people investigating big league cheats are all different parts of the organization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    assemblerhead (profile), Aug 9th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wrong,

    The IRS CID group was directly notified of Prenda by a Federal Judge recommending investigation. And a ruling of fraud on the court. Not to mention the CID has a history of going after RICO violations / Mobsters.

    If not one branch or group in any branch of Federal Law Enforcement will even make a token comment on "considering an investigation", Prenda bought immunity. They just didn't have the money to buy every judge in the state and federal systems. ( And, yes, there are some who refuse to sell out.)

    Why do you think Prenda made the "President of the Bar Association" an unmentioned partner in Clair County, Illinois? Wouldn't have anything to do with an investigation by the "Illinois Bar Association" would it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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