A secretive unit to the Drug Enforcement Administration is training its agents to cover up how it gets information used to launch investigations of Americans.

The technique for concealing the information is called Parallel Construction. Here's how it sometimes works.

A drug dealer wants to move narcotics, weapons or cash in the United States. An informant or perhaps an undercover agent learns the plans and alerts the secretive DEA unit called the Special Operations Division (SOD).

The intelligence could also come from an NSA wiretap or electronic intercept. The Special Operations Division tells local or state police that they need to stop a certain truck at a certain place and time. Local police do that in a way that looks like a routine traffic stop.

But a drug sniffing dog is brought to the scene. If police find drugs they arrest the driver. If the case goes to trial cops know they can never say where the intel came from. They're under direct orders to not disclose it.

Instead they might say the investigation began with a routine traffic stop, a plausible story that creates a new investigative trail that won't lead back to the secret source.

That’s the Parallel Construction.

What concerns some former prosecutors and judges is that by hiding the origin of the investigation that the DEA could be hiding evidence from the people arrested. This might jeopardize their constitutional right to a fair trial.

The video uses drug and gun dealers as examples...but from what we're learning today how far away are we from the Central Government using this against the people on their enemy list?...

You will note that all of these links today to Reuters are Reuters U.K.