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DEA Hires TSA Officer to Confiscate Cash, Promises Cut as Reward

Department of Justice probe denounces DEA for utilizing a TSA agent as a “confidential source” during an investigation.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is publicly criticizing both the Drug Enforcement Administration and Transportation Security Administration for snooping on flyers and potentially confiscate large amounts of cash. In a report released by the watchdog office, both agencies were found to be involved in a plot that violated both agencies’ internal obligations and policies.

The OIG investigation was initiated over a plan to use a TSA screener as a “confidential source” in the course of investigations. Under the plan, the TSA employee would work as a source for the DEA by checking travelers’ luggage for unusually large sums of cash. In exchange, the DEA would reward the source with part of the confiscated cash if it lead to an arrest or other enforcement action.

As a result, the investigators determined that utilizing a TSA screener violated internal policies, which prohibit U.S. government employees working within their capacities in law enforcement from being registered as confidential sources. Because the TSA is obligated to report suspicious findings to law enforcement, the security screener would potentially be rewarded for work already in their job description. Furthermore, investigators determined that information discovered during the scheme could potentially be unconstitutional.

“The OIG further determined that asking the TSA security screener to notify the DEA of passengers carrying large sums of money in exchange for a reward based on money seized by the DEA violated the DEA’s interdiction manual,” the investigative summary reads, “and could have violated individuals’ protection against unreasonable searches and seizures if it led to a subsequent DEA enforcement action.”

Ultimately, the anonymous TSA screener did not find any information that lead to action and was removed as a confidential source. The report was forwarded to the DEA for review and “appropriate action.”

[Photo: Andrew Burton / Reuters]

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alphaod January 22, 2016

TSA a bunch of thieves, who knew?