he Washington Post reported last week that the National Security Agency soon would begin providing local law enforcement with data on American citizens intercepted without probable cause and without a warrant. This data has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. It apparently will be used mostly in drug cases, although it could conceivably be used against any American for any reason.
Most Americans shrugged their shoulders when the news became public. But the Massachusetts ACLU published a blog post that tried to explain why this is so important and so dangerous to our civil liberties. The ACLU said:
Domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. FBI agents don’t need to have any “national security” reason to plug your name, email address, phone number, or other “selector” into the NSA’s gargantuan data trove. They can simply poke around in your private information in the course of totally routine investigations. And if they find something that suggests, say, involvement in illegal drug activity, they can send that information to local or state police. That means information the NSA collects for purposes of so-called “national security” will be used by police to lock up ordinary Americans for routine crimes. And we don’t have to guess who’s going to suffer this unconstitutional indignity the most brutally. It’ll be Black, Brown, poor, immigrant, Muslim, and dissident Americans: the same people who are always targeted by law enforcement for extra “special” attention.