To the People

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Well That's Gay

While I was sleeping on the job, the DEA apparently stopped releasing the DEA Microgram Bulletin -- in the format that we were all familar with -- to the general public. They still publish a very stripped down version that includes job openings, meeting announcements, and selected safety and intelligence briefings that's available to public on the web. More or less nothing of interest to anyone who isn't in law enforcement. The old version of the Bulletin is still being published, but is now only available to law enforcement officers.

A few thoughts on how this is not a good thing:

--True the Bulletin highlighted smuggling attempts (that failed); but outside of that I can't really think about how a drug producer, buyer, seller could have used the information to their advantage.

--Mostly the information contained within any given issue was on the composition of manufactured drugs. You would almost always have a particular ecstasy pill or two that had popped up in different regions of the country, usually discussed in the context of a trend. If anything I always thought this information would lead to more cautious drug users, as a dealer selling pills out a ziplock bag is not likely to list out (or know) all the shit that had been packed into the pills he deals. Even if that isn't the case (and let's be honest -- 99.9% drug users aren't/weren't reading the Bulletins) I'm not sure how it's dangerous to throw that information out to the public that is paying for the work to be done in first place. I'm not an expert in creating ecstasy or PCP; but I doubt the DEA was telling seasoned manufactures anything that they didn't already know, or couldn't find out for themselves.

--What we have is the DEA reducing transparency and putting useful information beyond the reach of the public, only because they didn't like the idea of not being able to control who was reading it. I'm sure people at the DEA were never fond at the number of people like me who regularly read the Microgram Bulletin for my own uses...none of which were to discourage drug use or cheerlead the drug war. That's not a good enough reason to put information behind a wall.

A few of my favorite examples of Microgram blogging here, here, and here. DEA announcement of change here.

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