DOJ Discloses DEA Phone-Record Database That Ended In 2013


The Justice Department has disclosed the existence of yet another database of telephone records, adding new details to the disclosures about mass government surveillance, reports the New York Times. The database was maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It contained the records of calls made between phone numbers in the United States and overseas. The phone records were retained even if there was no evidence the callers were involved in criminal activity. The database did not include names or other personal identifying information or the content of the conversation. It contained records of calls between Americans and people in countries that had connections to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities.

A Justice Department spokesman said the program was suspended in September 2013 and ultimately terminated. “It has not been active nor searchable since September 2013, and all of the information has been deleted,” said Patrick Rodenbush. He also said the agency was no longer collecting bulk data from American service providers. The government acknowledged the database in an affidavit filed in the case of a man accused of illegally exporting goods to Iran without the proper licenses from the government. The DEA program was one of several troves of information on Americans' phone records revealed in recent years. The most extensive and controversial one, kept by the National Security Agency, contains records on every American phone call.

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