Rachel Levinson-Waldman

Rachel Levinson-Waldman is senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Recent Articles

Trump’s All-Too-Powerful Surveillance Infrastructure

President Trump’s penchant for naming “enemies” echoes Richard Nixon’s, with one difference: Trump has a much bigger treasure trove of personal data at his disposal.

(Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)
Thanks to capacity-building programs begun under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, President Trump now holds the keys to a massive surveillance operation. Indeed, Trump will face few if any technological barriers to monitoring whomever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever purpose he chooses. To be sure, Trump does not enjoy legal carte blanche. The constitutionality of one of the government’s most significant surveillance programs has been called into question by commentators, and courts have declared that using characteristics like race and religion as the basis for surveillance is unconstitutional. But the Trump White House so far has shown an unsettling willingness to flout its legal obligations. After a federal court ruled that travelers detained at Dulles Airport in the wake of Trump’s immigration ban were entitled to see lawyers, for instance, senior administration officials nevertheless refused them access to the attorneys massed outside. This is on...