For reporting a backpack containing meth he found more than 15 miles away from his home near Des Moines, Iowa, according to watchdog.org. As a result of adhering to his civic duty and complying with the law, his home was put on the National Clandestine Laboratory Register, which is maintained by the DEA.
You have to love the disclaimer they have at the bottom of the website under “Conditions of Use.”
The Department has not verified the entry and does not guarantee its accuracy.
And then it gets better.
The Department does not accept responsibility or liability for damages of any kind resulting from reliance on an entry.
That’s like the FBI posting its Most Wanted List, but then saying “we have not verified all the suspects and do not guarantee this list is accurate.”
If they haven’t verified a residence, then why put it on a list?
The reason the owner even found out he was on the list is because a reporter contacted him about it. And the county he is in is considering using the information on the NCLR when assessing the value of a house, according to watchdog.org.
For the ordinary person, this is absolutely shocking. How could a government agency have the power to do this to someone? To those who are informed, however, this is typical.
If you’re wondering how it’s possible for people to oppose the War on Drugs without actually being a drug user (like me), this is why. The War on Drugs has less to do with drugs and more to do with government funding, power, and authority.
It also encourages the irrationality and blindness that is an integral part of federal bureaucracies. Only in Bizarro world is a man punished for reporting an illegal substance.
As a former reporter, I can tell you this: If a private citizen compiled a list of residences they believed to be meth houses and published it in print or online, they would be sued by every single homeowner for defamation. By claiming their residence is a meth house, they are directly implying the owner is a meth dealer, thus accusing them of participating in criminal activity. If the owner could show damages, such as a loss of property value or any kind of loss, the person who published the list would find themselves owing a lot of money.
But mind you, this is in the private sector. Private citizens cannot defame each other. Only governments are allowed to do it.
The War on Drugs needs to end for so many reasons. But if nothing else convinces skeptics, this should be sufficient. Any law that involves impugning the character of innocent people is no law at all.