DEA Promised TSA Agent a Cut of Passengers' Seizable Cash
An "investigative summary" posted this month by the Justice Department's inspector general criticizes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for hiring a federal airport security screener to help find seizable cash in passengers' luggage. Under the arrangement, the DEA designated the screener a "confidential source" and promised him a cut of any money he found while rummaging through people's bags.
Was that wrong? Yes, according to the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG concluded that paying employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to report evidence of criminal activity was inappropriate, since they are supposed to do that anyway. The OIG noted that DEA policy "precludes registering as a CS [confidential source] 'employees of U.S. law enforcement agencies who are working solely in their official capacity with DEA.'" It also worried 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" and "could have violated individuals' protection against unreasonable searches and seizures if it led to a subsequent DEA enforcement action."