Informant has been feeding Amtrak passenger information to the DEA for years
It has been revealed that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) paid an Amtrak secretary over $850,000 over the course of 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, information which the DEA could have obtained lawfully and free through a law enforcement network.
The employee was identified as a “secretary to a train and engine crew” but was otherwise not publicly identified on a report on the incident by Amtrak’s inspector general. Rather than face administrative discipline, the secretary was allowed to retire after the discovery that they had been regularly selling private passenger information to the DEA since 1995 without approval from Amtrak, essentially making the employee an informant.
Yesterday, the office of Amtrak Inspector General Tom Howard refrained from identifying the secretary or saying why it took so long to uncover the payments. Howard’s report on the incident concluded, “We suggested policy changes and other measures to address control weaknesses that Amtrak management is considering.” DEA spokesman Matt Barden declined to comment.
Passenger information is regularly collected by airlines and rail carriers, and generally includes a passenger’s name, the names of other passengers traveling with them, the dates of the ticket and travel, frequent flier or rider information, credit card numbers, emergency contact information, travel itinerary, baggage information, passport number, date of birth, gender, and seat number.
Read more about the story at The Wire.