This story courtesy of Akiva Miller:

“Reuters reported yesterday that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been starting criminal investigations of drug-related offenses based on information obtained from  from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records – information that usually cannot be used in criminal investigations not related to national security matters. The DEA agents were directed to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated. This practice violates defendants’ constitutional rights to a fair trial.

This Reuters context piece helps explain how this practice differs from the NSA Surveillance program, and is a far worse violation of civil rights:

Meanwhile, USA Today reported that the Justice Department is now reviewing the DEA’s techniques:

This revelation exposes how surveillance practices are going beyond the narrow realm of national security needs and are increasingly being employed against Americans for ordinary law enforcement purposes – the very realm where civil rights are vital safeguards against agency violation. Now that unlawful surveillance has been exposed in the fairly controversial area of drug enforcement, one can imagine the reaction if it turns out other agencies are using similar tactics: How would businesses react if the IRS were illegally obtaining their phone records, and then started a “random” audit on its secret surveillance target? Or how would gun rights supporters feel if the ATF Bureau were listening to phone conversations and arresting unregistered gun owners claiming “reliable informants” had led them to their targets? It wil also be interesting to see how this will affect the convictions of drug-related charges who may have been victims of these tactics. ”