The shared roots of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, in one chart

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If there was ever any doubt in your mind about the shared DNA between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, consider the chart above. It shows the number of wiretaps granted by state and federal courts in 2013. You’ll see that nearly 90 percent of the wiretaps were issued for drug offenses.

Drug wiretaps came up last week when USA Today reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration had been secretly listening in on billions of Americans’ international phone calls, starting well before 9/11 and the War on Terror. “For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking,” USA Today found. The program “provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.”

As Andy Greenberg recently wrote in Wired, “the program serves as a reminder that most of the legal battles between government surveillance efforts and the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections over the last decades have played out first on the front lines of America’s War on Drugs.” You can add surveillance to the ever-growing list of controversial criminal justice practices with roots in the drug war: Sales of surplus military gear to local cops, civil asset forfeiture, skyrocketing incarceration rates for non-violent offenses, harsh penalties for real or imagined drugs in the schoolyard.

Read the full article here.

Vince Perfetto

Vince adds diverse experience to the Foundation with a background in broadcasting, accounting, and telecommunications. He loves living in the freest state in America, New Hampshire. With a “Live Free or Die” attitude and a strong independent streak, Vince feels right at home among his fellow N.H. citizens. He was raised to respect others and to work hard to achieve his goals, and thus takes pride in saying he has “the best parents, ever.” When Vince isn’t working on the Foundation, he enjoys hiking, reading, and relaxing with a great New England micro brew.

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