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LACC: DEA Agents Accuse CIA of Tapping Phones

This would probably be a pretty interesting complaint to read, if there are
any DC-area cypherpunks who feel like making a trip down to the courthouse ..

>Resent-Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 19:55:42 +1000 (EST)
>Date: 17 Sep 1997 09:49:50 -0000
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>Subject: LACC:  DEA Agents Accuse CIA of Tapping Phones
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>SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The CIA and other spy
>agencies have systematically tapped the phones of
>overseas  Drug Enforcement Administration offices,
>according to a class action lawsuit agents filed
>Thursday in Washington.
>The lawsuit, which also names the National Security
>Agency and the State Department, seeks a court
>order barring those agencies from any further
>"These agencies have a pattern and practice of
>eavesdropping on DEA agents' and employees'
>conversations while they are serving the government
>overseas," said attorney Brian Leighton of Clovis, Calif.
>But legal experts say it could be a difficult lawsuit to
>win, especially since an employer - in this case the
>government - generally has a right to listen to employee
>conversation on office phones.
>It also doesn't help that national security was involved
>and that courts have held that U.S. citizens don't have
>constitutional rights overseas.
>``It's an uphill battle. It's going to be a tough suit,'' said
>constitutional law expert Paul Rothstein of Georgetown
>The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all DEA agents,
>but the agency itself was not part of the action.
>The only DEA agent named as a plaintiff in the suit
>is Richard A. Horn, currently with the agency's New
>Orleans bureau. Five other incidents involving other
>unidentified agents are alleged.
>Two years ago Horn filed a lawsuit accusing U.S.
>officials of undermining his anti-drug efforts in Burma.
>That suit is still pending.
>Leighton said subsequent contacts with other DEA
>personnel revealed a pattern of similar abuses around
>the world.
>CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said he could not
>comment directly on the class action lawsuit, but
>defended his agency.
>"It is not the CIA's mission, nor is it part of the
>operations of the agency, to surveil in any manner
>U.S. officials, or other U.S. citizens at home or
>abroad,'' Mansfield said.
>The only exception would be in counterintelligence
>cases, he added, and then only in consultation with
>senior Justice Department officials.
>DEA spokesman James McGivney said he could not
>comment on pending litigation, but noted that as a
>U.S. citizen, Horn had the right file his own lawsuit.
>John Russell, spokesman for the Justice Department,
>which defends the other agencies in lawsuits,
>said only, ``we will respond in court.''
>In Horn's previous case, Leighton said, the Justice
>Department angered DEA agents by claiming they
>have no Fourth Amendment constitutional right
>against wiretapping when working outside the
>Leighton, a former federal prosecutor, said the
>lawsuit doesn't address the reasons for the alleged
>electronic eavesdropping.
>"My assumption is because they want to know
>what DEA is doing, they want to rip off DEA
>informants, they want to know DEA contacts
>within foreign governments,'' Leighton said.
>``And with the Cold War over, these agencies
>are looking for a new mission.''
>An April 1996 letter to agents by Horn and
>Leighton, details the allegation of wiretapping
>against the agent in Burma.
>Horn's residence ``was the target of a U.S.
>Government Agency-sponsored electronic audio
>intercept,'' it said.
>"Horn had occasion to see a cable containing
>his words in quotation marks, that he had spoken
>to another DEA agent, set forth exactly as stated...''
>The suit also reports alleged wiretaps against
>DEA agents in the Dominican Republic from
>1987 to 1990, in May 1993 and September 1994
>at the Bangkok, Thailand office; at the Guatemala
>City office in 1984, 1985 and from 1987 to 1989;
>and in an unidentified location in April 1987.
>The suit, assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold H.
>Greene, names as defendants Secretary of State
>Warren Christopher, CIA Director John Deutch
>and NSA Director Adm. J.M. McConnell.
Greg Broiles                | US crypto export control policy in a nutshell:
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