Feeds

DEA agent charged with selling citizens' data

Fat pension blown for chump change

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A twelve-year veteran of the of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court in Los Angeles to charges of illegally selling sensitive information about private citizens pulled from federal and state law enforcement computers.

DEA Special Agent Emilio Calatayud is charged in an eleven count indictment with wire fraud, bribery, and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for allegedly selling "criminal history and law enforcement information" to private investigations firm Triple Check Investigative Services in Los Angeles. His trial is scheduled for 13 March.

According to prosecutors, the 34-year-old Calatayud peddled data for six years beginning in 1993, supplementing his government paycheck by anywhere from $1,080 to $8,500 in cash each year. The indictment charges that, in all, Calatayud earned at least $22,580 with his computer access, at a rate of between $60 and $80 per target.

By those figures, Calatayud would have run queries on approximately 300 - 400 people who were being investigated by Triple Check -- though presumably not all of those people had records to be found.

The purloined data allegedly came from three law enforcement computers to which Calatayud had otherwise lawful access: the FBI's National Crime Information Centre (NCIC), which maintains nationwide records on arrest histories, convictions and warrants; the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS), a state network that gives agents access to California motor vehicle records, rap sheets and fingerprints; and a DEA database called the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Information System (NADDIS).

The NADDIS computer, located in Rockville, Maryland, is described by a Justice Department Web page as a repository of information on "subjects of interest" to the DEA, "consisting of over 3,500,000 individuals, businesses, vessels and selected airfields."

Calatayud has been suspended with pay since August 1999, when he fell under the joint DEA, FBI and Justice Department investigation that ultimately lead to his arrest earlier this month. He is now free on $100,000 bail, and his DEA salary has been suspended.

Triple Check's owner could not be reached for comment. The company was not charged in the indictment. Calatayud's attorney, Douglas E. McCann, did not immediately return a phone call Monday.

"The sale of confidential information by a member of a law enforcement agency jeopardizes the viability of criminal investigations, threatens the safety of members of the public and undermines the integrity of our entire law enforcement community," said United States Attorney Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. "The proper response to such an abuse of the public trust is an aggressive prosecution."

If the indictment proves accurate, the case highlights the risks posed by the increasingly large number of government databases that house information on individuals, and are widely accessible with minimal security, says ACLU associate director Barry Steinhardt.

"There's corruption at all levels of government," says Steinhardt. "The more aggregate and searchable a database is, the greater the likelihood that it'll be used, both in authorized ways, and in unauthorized ways that may be criminal."

© 2001 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.