Civil-liberties groups seek hearings on DEA’s use of NSA intelligence

You knew it wouldn’t be long until other agencies tapped into NSA’s massive trove of phone records.  A coalition of two dozen civil-liberties groups called Thursday for congressional hearings on the Drug Enforcement Administration, citing recent revelations by Reuters about the DEA’s use of National Security Agency data to build non-terrorism cases against Americans.

Last month, Reuters reported that the DEA funnels tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, court-ordered wiretaps and a massive telephone database to police and federal agents nationwide.

The DEA instructs the agents and police to never reveal the source of the information and to instead “recreate” the investigative trail, records seen by Reuters show. This DEA process, which agents call “parallel construction,” disturbs some judges, former prosecutors and defense lawyers, who say it systematically eliminates potential evidence that defendants may need to ensure a fair trial.

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