While most people now know, thanks to Edward Snowden, that the National Security Agency has been monitoring your telephone calls in the name of "security" after 9-11, a recent investigation by USA Today revealed that the U.S. Government has been monitoring Americans' phone calls for a lot longer than that. In fact, it was the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency that first began monitoring phone calls in an effort to combat the War on Drugs. From USA Today:
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, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.
The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA's intelligence arm, was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks. That dragnet drew sharp criticism that the government had intruded too deeply into Americans' privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked it to the news media two years ago.