Justice Dept Tracked Billions of Calls for Decades

Before NSA Surveillance Scheme, Drug War Was Excuse of Choice

Shock over the mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone calls by the NSA has come and gone with little resolved, but the latest reports reveal the Justice Department started this campaign of intrusion long before the NSA program itself.

Since being caught, officials have pinned the whole NSA surveillance scheme on the war on terror, but that’s just the latest venue and latest excuse. The program actually began decades prior, with the drug war and the DEA.

It’s also bigger than anyone imagined, with billions of phone calls made by Americans being tracked by the DEA for decades, saying they needed it to uncover the operation of drug cartels.

The program was discontinued, but later used as the template for the NSA program. This was in spite of the fact that, like the NSA program, the DEA one was extremely unsuccessful, as decades of such surveillance never stopped the drug cartels. Similarly, the NSA never foiled a single plot through the metadata scheme.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.