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.