When President George W. Bush announced the Global War on Terrorism in 2001 he did not have to start his war from scratch. Instead, the development of the United States government’s war on drugs that President Richard Nixon announced forty years earlier facilitated much of Bush’s new war. Two revelations this week provide new examples of the linkage between the two wars.
First, Brad Heath reported Wednesday at USA Today that from 1992 through 2013 the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collected calling records of “virtually all” phone calls from America to a long list of countries. At the list’s peak size, bulk collection was undertaken on calls between the US and over 100 countries. Countries that the article notes were on the list at “one time or another” include most countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, as well as Canada, Mexico, Italy, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Heath describes the DEA program as “a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.”