Democratic Members of Congress Press Holder for Answers on Use of NSA Surveillance Data in the War on Drugs

Eight Democratic members of Congress are pushing Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about the use of NSA surveillance data in the War on Drugs:

Eight Democratic senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens.

The August report revealed that a secretive DEA unit passes the NSA information to agents in the field, including those from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Homeland Security, with instructions to never disclose the original source, even in court. In most cases, the NSA tips involve drugs, money laundering and organized crime, not terrorism.

Five Democrats in the Senate and three senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee submitted questions to Holder about the NSA-DEA relationship, joining two prominent Republicans who have expressed concerns. The matter will be discussed during classified briefings scheduled for September, Republican and Democratic aides said.

“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

I previously wrote about this dangerous trend in this post.

The Reuters article quoted above notes that some Republicans are pushing for answers as well. But it’s more telling that these Democrats are doing so, despite the fact that the policy in question is conducted by a president of their own party.