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Revelation: IRS benefitted from secret DEA surveillance tips

The extent to which federal agencies cooperate with each other to advance their particular agendas is getting a bit more media attention this week. The Internal Revenue Service is smack in the middle of it again. The information being revealed is raising more than a few eyebrows inside and outside of Washington, D.C.

According to information compiled and reported by the Reuters news agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency is in the practice of feeding information gleaned from covert surveillance by the DEA's Special Operations Division to dozens of other federal agencies, including the IRS. That information is then used to launch investigations, which may include IRS audits

What is perhaps most troubling in the revelations is that records indicate that the DEA and the other agencies have been under instructions to hide how they got the information by creating a parallel story regarding the source. Some legal experts observe that such cover-up practices violate the constitutional right of individuals charged with tax or other crimes by denying them access to all evidence against them.

As one former federal judge puts it, general surveillance techniques like those used by the government to stop terrorism is one thing, but to use those techniques in ordinary law enforcement against crime is another story.

IRS actions taken against individuals tend to be overly intrusive and disruptive as a matter of course and should never be faced without the help of an experienced attorney. The issues can be complex, and these latest revelations only reinforce that skill and tenacity is required in mounting an effective defense.

Source: Reuters.com, "Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans," John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, Aug. 5, 2013

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