Less than two weeks after reports revealed that the Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration tracked Americans calls for over a decade, new documents show that the same agency has been building a national database to track vehicles in real time around the country.
The license-plate tracking program was set up by the DEA assist in the seizure of cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
But the database is also used to search for vehicles associated with other crimes, including kidnappings and killings to rape suspect, sources told The Journal.
The DEA publicly acknowledged that it tracks vehicles near the Mexican border to fight drug cartels, but did not reveal that it intended to expand the database “throughout the United States,” one email reviewed by The Journal reads.
The license-plate tracking program collects data about vehicle movements, including time, direction and location, using cameras placed on major roadways. Many of the devices capture images of the driver, which can be used to identify people, according to the documents and sources familiar with the program.
State and local law enforcement are also able to access the database, sources familiar with the program said.
A spokesman for the Justice Department said the program complies with federal law.
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SOURCE: The Washington Times | Kellan Howell