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A federal judge says the Drug Enforcement Administration relied on a known “fabricator” to make its case that an Afghan man was a narco-terrorist and throws out the conviction.

While in these last months the NSA has cast a long, dark shadow over American privacy, don’t for a second imagine that it’s the only government agency systematically and often secretly intruding on our lives. A remarkable traffic jam of local, state, and federal government authorities turn out to be exploiting technology to wriggle into the most intimate crevices of our lives.

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According to a report published by Reuters on Monday, a secret special unit within the Drug Enforcement Administration is using data from Internet and phone records obtained by the NSA to help launch investigations in the U.S. that are largely unrelated to national security issues.

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To what length should governments enable crime in order to catch criminals? That’s the ethical issue raised by a New York Times article that reports DEA agents have laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds to battle Mexican cartels. More than 40,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry points to his hyper pro-business policies to explain the fact that 37 percent of the nation's new jobs created over the last two years were in his state. New York magazine has another suggestion though: the region's multibillion-dollar drug trade. (more)

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We've so idealized cowboy-style rebellion in matters of war and law enforcement that the DEA can refuse to follow explicit orders from the president and attorney general and get away with it.

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