Is that happening? As with much about the NSA, it is hard to be sure. Two recent news reports sent conflicting signals.
The New York Times reported last week that the NSA had rebuffed requests that it share its data with law enforcement agencies that wanted to use the information to investigate crimes including drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement.
That was encouraging. But two days later Reuters reported that a secretive unit of the Drug Enforcement Administration had been “funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.” Moreover, Reuters reported, law enforcement agents had been directed to conceal how such investigations began.
The Reuters story suggests that the DEA and other law enforcement agencies may be using other information obtained by the NSA, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Even if one accepts that preventing terrorism requires extraordinary surveillance measures, those measures must not provide a back door for the prosecution of Americans for drug offenses or any other crime on the basis of evidence that wasn’t obtained in accordance with the Constitution. — LA Times
A-Rod should feel lucky, not defiant
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has broken a raft of records over his 20 years in professional baseball. He batted in at least 100 runs in 14 seasons; his 10-year, $275 million contract was the largest ever in baseball; and, as of last Monday, he has been given the most severe punishment ever for using performance-enhancing drugs, a 211-game suspension that, if upheld, will keep him off the field through all of next season.
Twelve other players accepted 50-game suspensions, which will allow them to be eligible to play in this season’s playoffs.
What made A-Rod, again, so different?