Write a response for each of the prompts listed below. Please include one cover sheet with your name, date, class number, date and time. Please type your responses, double space, size 12 font, 1” margins, do not center or justify to the right. It should be left justified. The length should be between one and one-half to two and a half pages for each essay.
Chapter 25 Discuss the following Supreme Court cases. Include the background of each case, what type of freedoms or civil rights the outcome of these cases provided, and why they were necessary? What do they say about American society at this time? Jones v. Alfred H. Meyer Co. Griswold v. Connecticut Miranda V. Arizona Loving v. Virginia New York Times v. Sullivan Roe v. Wade
Chapter 28 After the attacks on September 11, the US government quickly responded with the USA Patriot Act. This Act is still in place and there are controversies as to whether or not limitations should be placed on Americans’ freedoms during the war on terrorism. Read the selection in chapter 28 (Give Me Liberty, 4th Edition Volume 2, Eric Foner 9780393920284) Read the following two articles: Article one- NPR: National Public Radio Politics The Patriot Act: Key Controversies by Larry Abramson and Maria Godoy Feb. 14, 2006 — The USA Patriot Act seems headed for long-term renewal. Key senators have reached a deal with the White House that allays the civil liberties concerns of some critics of the law. Passed in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, the law expanded the government’s powers in anti-terrorism investigations. Controversial surveillance provisions were set to expire at the end of last year; attempts to re-authorize them long-term were filibustered last December. The compromise reached last week, which has the support of both House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, makes three major changes to the law: 1 – Recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorism investigations now have the right to challenge a requirement that they refrain from telling anyone. However, recipients must wait a year before challenging the gag order. 2 – The second change concerns recipients of a so-called National Security Letter, which is an administrative subpoena issued by the FBI demanding records. Recipients will no longer be required to tell the FBI the name of any attorney consulted about the letter. 3 – Most libraries — those that act in traditional roles, such as lending books and providing Internet access — will not be subject to National Security Letters demanding information about suspected terrorists. However, libraries that act as an Internet Service Provider will still be subject to National Security Letters. Below, NPR examines the act’s most controversial provisions: Information Sharing Sec. 203(b) and (d): Allows information from criminal probes to be shared with intelligence agencies and other parts of the government. Expires Dec. 31. Read more » Pro: Supporters say the provisions have greatly enhanced information sharing within the FBI, and with the intelligence community at large. Con: Critics warn that unrestricted sharing could lead to the development of massive databases about citizens who are not the targets of criminal investigations. Roving Wiretaps Sec. 206: Allows one wiretap authorization to cover multiple devices, eliminating the need for separate court authorizations for a suspect’s cell phone, PC and Blackberry, for example. Expires Dec. 31. Read more » Pro: The government says roving wiretaps are needed to deal with technologically sophisticated terrorists. Con: Critics say the language of the act could lead to privacy violations of anyone who comes into casual contact with a suspect. Access to Records Sec. 215: Allows easier access to business records in foreign intelligence investigations. Expires Dec. 31. Read more » Pro: The provision allows investigators to obtain books, records, papers, documents and other items sought “in connection with” a terror investigation. Con: Critics attack the breadth of the provision, saying the law could be used to demand the reading records of library or bookstore patrons. Foreign Intelligence Wiretaps and Searches Sec. 218: Lowers the bar for launching foreign intelligence wiretaps and searches. Expires Dec. 31. Read more » Pro: Allows investigators to get a foreign intelligence wiretap or search order, even if they end up bringing criminal charges instead. Con: Because foreign intelligence probes are conducted in secret, with little oversight, critics say abuses could be difficult to uncover. “Sneak & Peek” Warrants Sec. 213: Allows “Sneak and peek” search warrants, which let authorities search a home or business without immediately notifying the target of a probe. Does not expire. Read more » Pro: Supporters say this provision has already allowed investigators to search the houses of drug dealers and other criminals without providing notice that might have jeopardized an investigation. Con: Critics say the provision allows the use of “sneak and peek” warrants for even minor crimes, not just terror and espionage cases. Material Support Sec. 805: Expands the existing ban on giving “material support” to terrorists to include “expert advice or assistance.” Does not expire. Read more » Pro: Supporters say it helps cut off the support networks that make terrorism possible. Con: Critics say the provision could lead to guilt by association. The ‘Lone Wolf’ Provision Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 allows intelligence investigations of lone terrorists not connected to a foreign nation or organization. While not part of the Patriot Act, this provision also sunsets on Dec. 31 and is under review. Civil liberties groups say the provision could sweep in protesters and those suspected of involvement in domestic terrorism. Language passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee would make this section permanent. Information Sharing Sections 203(b) and 203(d) of the Patriot Act are at the heart of the effort to break down the “wall” that used to separate criminal and intelligence investigations. The Justice Department has frequently blamed the wall for the failure to find and detain Sept. 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar prior to the attacks. CIA agents had information that both men were in the United States and were suspected terrorists, but the FBI says it did not receive that information until August 2001. U.S. officials also blame the wall for the failure to fully investigate Zacarias Moussaoui, who has since pleaded guilty in connection with the Sept. 11 plot. The government says that existing procedures made investigators afraid of sharing information between the intelligence and criminal sides of the probe. Supporters say these provisions have greatly enhanced information sharing within the FBI, and with the intelligence community at large. Civil libertarians say the failure to share information was largely a result of incompetence and misunderstanding of the law. They say investigators were always allowed to share grand jury information, which is specifically authorized by this section. They warn that the scope of the Patriot Act language is far too broad and encourages unlimited sharing of information, regardless of the need. Critics say that investigators should have to explain why information is being shared, and that only information related to terrorism or espionage should be released. They warn that unrestricted sharing could lead to the development of massive databases about innocent citizens. « Back to top Roving Wiretaps The Justice Department has long complained about restrictions that required separate court authorizations for each device used by the target of an investigation, whether it’s a computer terminal, a cell phone or a Blackberry. This provision of the Patriot Act specifically allows “roving wiretaps” against suspected spies and terrorists. The government says it has long had this type of flexibility in criminal cases, and that such authority is needed in dealing with technologically sophisticated terrorists. Surveillance experts point out, however, that criminal wiretaps must “ascertain” whether the person under investigation is going to be using the device before the tap takes place. Civil liberties groups say the language of the Patriot Act could lead to privacy violations of anyone who comes into casual contact with the suspect. They want Congress to require investigators to specify just which device is going to be tapped, or that the suspect be clearly identified, in order to protect the innocent from unwarranted snooping. « Back to top Access to Records Probably the most hotly debated provision of the law, Section 215 has come to be known as the “libraries provision,” even though it never mentions libraries or bookstores. Civil liberties groups attack the breadth of this section — which allows investigators to obtain “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents and other items),” as long as the records are sought “in connection with” a terror investigation. Library groups said the law could be used to demand the reading records of patrons. But the government points out that the First Amendment activities of Americans are specifically protected by the law. The Justice Department has released previously classified statistics to show the law has never been used against libraries or bookstores. But the act’s critics argue that there’s no protection against future abuse. Civil liberties groups have proposed numerous amendments: special protections for libraries and bookstores; a requirement that investigators explain the reason the records are sought; and an end to the “gag rule” that prohibits people who receive a 215 order from talking about it with anyone. The Justice Department has agreed that recipients can consult with an attorney and is open to an amendment that specifies this right. But the government says the controversy over this provision is an overreaction, and that this section merely expands longstanding access to certain business records. « Back to top Foreign Intelligence Wiretaps and Searches Criminal investigators have a high bar to reach when asking for permission to wiretap or search a suspect’s home. The bar is lower in counterterror or counterintelligence probes, where investigators must only prove the suspect is an “agent of a foreign power.” Previously, investigators had to show that the “primary purpose” of the order was to gather foreign intelligence; the Patriot Act lowered that requirement to a “significant purpose.” The government said this change takes away another brick in “the wall” separating criminal and intelligence probes: It allows investigators to get a foreign intelligence wiretap or search order, even though they might end up bringing criminal charges. Civil liberties groups insist that “the wall” rose up through misunderstandings, and that there was no hard barrier against launching a criminal probe against someone being investigated as a spy or terrorist. They point to a 2002 ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Court of Review that buttresses this point. But critics say the Patriot Act creates a new risk in Section 218 — that investigators will too easily use spying and terrorism as an excuse for launching foreign intelligence wiretaps and searches. They point to the fact that the number of intelligence wiretaps now exceeds the number of criminal taps. Since these probes are conducted in secret, with little oversight, abuses could be difficult to uncover. Civil liberties groups say one antidote would be to require that the Justice Department release more information about foreign intelligence investigations. « Back to top “Sneak & Peek” Warrants This section allows for “delayed notice” of search warrants, which means the FBI can search a home or business without immediately notifying the target of the investigation. The Justice Department says this provision has already allowed investigators to search the houses of drug dealers and other criminals without providing notice that might have jeopardized an investigation. Investigators still have to explain why they want to delay notice, and must eventually tell the target about the search. Critics say that investigators already had the power to conduct secret searches in counterterror and counterespionage probes. The Patriot Act, they say, authorized the use of this technique for any crime, no matter how minor. They say that “sneak and peek” searches should be narrowly limited to cases in which an investigation would be seriously jeopardized by immediate notice. Legislation to cut off funding for such searches passed the House in 2003. However, this provision does not face a sunset as other controversial provisions do, so it may be harder for opponents to amend it. « Back to top Material Support The antiterrorism law passed in 1996, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, outlawed providing “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations, and expanded the definition of support to include “personnel” and “training.” Section 805 of the Patriot Act extended that ban to “expert advice or assistance.” The Justice Department has said this expansion is critical to cutting off the networks of support that make terrorism possible. But many legal scholars — and even some judges — contend the provision is vague. They say it will lead to guilt by association and might criminalize unwitting contact with a terrorist group. Opponents also argue that it stifles free speech, by raising fears that any charitable contribution could somehow be linked to a terrorist group by the Justice Department, and then construed as “material support.” Courts have differed on the constitutionality of these efforts to cut off the “lifeblood” of terrorism. Some have ruled they are unconstitutionally vague, others have upheld these laws. In response, Congress tried to tighten the definitions in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terror Prevention Act. But the language in that law is also being challenged in court. Article 2- American Security: Triumphs And Downfalls Of The Patriot Act How is it that American citizens have supported, and even allowed the passing of, legislature that ignores the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The Patriot Act, originally passed in October 2001, is one of the most controversial topics regarding American citizens’ privacy and security. The Patriot Act has elevated the investigatory power of our nation’s government to a record high. While this legislation directly contradicts the fourth amendment, it has saved many lives. The far-reaching powers of the Patriot Act have actually allowed our country to apprehend many criminals who otherwise would likely have gotten away with their crimes. The issue at hand is how much of our personal privacy are we, as American citizens, willing to leverage in return for security, as well as a much greater question: how much personal freedom is actually worth leveraging for security? In the words of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of our nation, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” (Moncur). While the Patriot Act has helped prevent disastrous events in our nation, it is far too invasive and should be revised to maintain privacy and freedom. The Patriot Act was passed shortly after the catastrophic events of September 11th, 2001 to combat terrorism in the United States of America. This legislation has caused extreme dissent because it grants government agencies more investigatory power than ever before. Many of the sections within the Patriot Act have roused indignation among American citizens. For example, the Patriot Act allows for what it calls “sneak and peek” warrants, which essentially grant the ability for a government agency to search a person’s property without any warrant or notification of the search (Abramson and Godoy). Additionally, the practice of sharing any and all evidence or information between government agencies (referred to as information sharing) has become legal (Abramson and Godoy). Also, wiretapping no longer links to one device, so government agencies can now legally tap every single form of communication that a person of interest is using (Abramson and Godoy). Perhaps the most shocking facet of the Patriot Act is that it permits indefinite detention, even if the offender is not a terrorist (How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants). By the Patriot Act, any immigrant or non-citizen is legally subject to indefinite detention in America without an attorney. With all of these capabilities combined, our nation has begun to use what is known as data mining, the mass collection of information about American citizens, to determine who is a threat. The Patriot Act is clearly a controversial issue that affects a substantial amount of people, including non-Americans. The discourse of this paper focuses largely on four components of the Patriot Act. The benefits, as well as the more abundant threats and detriments of data mining, are thoroughly discussed. Following this, the pros and cons of a related practice known as information sharing are discussed. Next, the paper delves into the subject of roving wiretaps, shortly followed by a deliberation on the topic of infinite detention of non U.S. citizens. In each case, advantages are carefully weighed against disadvantages while the increase in security is compared to the decrease in personal privacy and freedom to determine whether or not each component is a successful and worthwhile addition to American legislation. Although the exceptionally simple process the government goes through to acquire citizens’ personal information is not explicitly described in this paper, much explanation has been done elsewhere. If interested in how the government is so easily gleaning all of this information please see the cited sources by any of the following authors: Gina Stevens, Charles Doyle, Daniel J. Solove, Fred H. Cate, and Adam Martin. The practice of data mining is one of the most disputed abilities the Patriot Act entails, likely due to it being a blatant invasion of privacy and apparently unconstitutional. Data mining is a process in which massive amounts of information on American citizens are collected by looking at internet history to determine personal information such as political affiliation and sexual orientation among other personal factoids as well as tracking the location of citizens. Surprisingly, the U.S. government does not consider seizing this information to be a search or seizure, so this practice is unchallengeable by the fourth amendment. By doing this, the government manages to collect enough information on each citizen to construct personal profiles, which they use to compare to personal profiles of past terrorists to predict acts of terrorism in the future. All of this data is analyzed only by computer programs, rather than human eyes, which may seem to lessen the invasion of privacy. However, privacy is defined as “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in ones private life or affairs”, which is the opposite of what is occurring as a result of data mining (dictionary.com). If obtaining as much information as possible on citizens in order to establish explicatory profiles is not a disturbance in one’s private life, then it is impossible to determine what it is. Data mining even stands in direct opposition to the first amendment to the United States Constitution. To elaborate, every time my mother (a five-foot tall, fifty-year-old Indian woman with a master’s degree in statistics and no criminal record) checks in for a flight she is subjected to extra security. This means that my mother’s credentials dub her to be a potential terrorist. This is a wild extrapolation because nothing about my mother aligns her with past terrorists, except maybe her religious affiliation. If this categorical information is what causes my mother to be identified as a possible threat, then the process of as data mining, as well as the Patriot Act, is unconstitutional and stands in opposition to the first amendment of the United States Constitution. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Bill of Rights), but obstructing a passenger on an airplane based on their religious affiliation is clearly denouncing the practice of their religion. These procedures are quite shocking and greatly oppose how the United States government’s investigative powers were designed to function. Although the Patriot Act is extreme legislation, it has helped our country in some instances. Information sharing, enabled by the Patriot Act, has helped prevent terrorism in our nation but is far too invasive to be maintained as a practice. Information sharing is the process of government agencies freely sharing all information and evidence between them. Specifically, sections 203(b) and 203(d) of the Patriot Act effectively integrate this information (Abramson and Godoy). In the past, government agencies kept the information they acquired separate from other agencies, which hindered the pace at which terrorists and criminals were apprehended. For instance, in 2003 a man named Lyman Faris was charged for planning the destruction of a New York City bridge. The investigation involved more than a dozen organizations working together jointly to detain Faris. As an FBI agent (who risks his life everyday to protect our country and its citizens) said, “The Faris case would not have happened without sharing information. We would never have even had the lead” (Fact Sheet). Without information sharing, Faris may never have been incarcerated, in which case many people would have died in the destrcution of the bridge. In fact, three eminent sections of our government all promulgated that this separation of information is part of what led to the events of September 11th, 2001; “The Justice Department has frequently blamed the wall for the failure to find and detain Sept. 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar prior to the attacks. CIA agents had information that both men were in the United States and were suspected terrorists, but the FBI says it did not receive that information until August 2001” (Abramson and Godoy). It is true that the Patriot Act allows for our government to identify terroristic threats much faster than if information remained separate; however, with these benefits come great perils. While information sharing can aid national security, unrestricted information sharing leads to the formation of enormous databases of information on non-criminal citizens and is unnecessary as well as largely unconstitutional. It turns out that the lack of information sharing in past instances was not due to legal issues, but rather out of hesitance. As National Public Radio puts it “investigators were always allowed to share grand jury information, which is specifically authorized by this section” (Abramson and Godoy). Since information sharing was essentially always legal, all the Patriot Act has done is promote a needlessly large amount of information sharing. Rather than considering why certain information should be relayed to other government agencies, all information is now routinely circulated between government agencies. Since criminal and innocent Americans are equal in the eyes of the Patriot Act, vast amounts of personal information about innocent American citizens are being accrued in multiple places across the nation for no reason. Meanwhile, the fourth amendment to the Constitution is supposed to be the “keystone in the protection of the citizen against government power. It ensures that the government cannot gather information about you without proper oversight and limitation” (Solove 93). Although the fourth amendment has been in place since the signing of the Bill of Rights, in this case it offers no protection. The United States government does not consider any aspects of the Patriot Act to be unconstitutional, nor does it think they are gathering information without ‘proper oversight and limitation’. In hindsight, extensive amounts of information about innocent American citizens are being collected in a limitless manner even though the fourth amendment is supposed to protect against such absurdities. As previously defined, privacy is a form of freedom, a form of freedom that is being taken away from all American citizens by sections 203(b) and 203(d) of the Patriot Act. Roving wiretaps are another component of the Patriot Act that, although radical, have in certain instances helped to improve safety in our nation. For instance, the arrest of a man by the name of Najibullah Zazi was only possible because of roving wiretaps. The Washington Examiner, an established periodical, noted that Najibullah Zazi was convicted of conspiracy and intent to use weapons of mass destruction after “Nine pages of handwritten formulas for homemade explosives, fuses and detonators were later found on his laptop, e-mailed from an Internet account originating in Pakistan, court documents charge” (Patriot Act Helped Foil New York Terror Plot). Before his arrest, the FBI intercepted a call from a comrade of Zazi’s who plainly apprised him that he was being tracked. In the past, separate court orders were needed for each device that was to be tapped; the FBI would have needed a separate warrant for Zazi’s laptop and cell phone. So, if Zazi was to purchase a new phone to avoid surveillance, the FBI would again need another court order to tap Zazi’s new phone. As The Washington Examiner concludes, “This is exactly the kind of foreign communications the Patriot Act was designed to intercept” (Patriot Act Helped Foil New York Terror Plot). Nowadays, Section 206 of the Patriot Act allows government agencies to get court orders on specific people rather than specific devices (Abramson, Larry, and Maria Godoy). If the Patriot Act was not enacted then Najibullah Zazi as well as other terrorists would be much more likely to successfully inflict damage across the country. However, security and privacy are quite clearly inversely proportional. Roving wiretaps severely decrease American citizens’ privacy and security in an unlawful and invasive manner. Since the Patriot Act allows roving wiretaps to be enacted with respect to any person who is a suspected spy or terrorist, it is easily possible for any one who comes in contact with these suspects to be observed and recorded. Whether the contact is brief or extended, intentional or accidental, any information obtained from the wiretaps (regarding the suspect or anyone else involved) is legally obtained as evidence fit for a court of law. As National Public Radio points out, “the language of the Patriot Act could lead to privacy violations of anyone who comes into casual contact with the subject” (Abramson and Godoy). With the unlimited scope of roving wiretaps, all Americans inadvertently subject themselves to being observed by the government. What this entails is a multitude of people’s information being collected through roving wiretaps, even if they are not suspected terrorists or spies. This is a drastic measure, especially considering information sharing as well as data mining are both already thoroughly collecting such information from American citizens. Since there are no criteria to be considered a terrorist, the government uses the information they obtain to declare more people as threatening so that they can issue more wiretaps and further this endless, cyclical process. What does the government need all of this private information for, and how can they even claim they have the right to obtain all of this data? As Daniel J. Solove, the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University, expresses in his book, “There’s nothing to stop law enforcement officials from acting upon mere hunches, or even wild guesses, or just gathering information because they don’t like a person and want to catch him in a bad act” (Solove 96). The Patriot Act is promoting the persecution of innocent Americans. Ultimately, roving wiretaps defy the U.S. constitution and help the government amass huge amounts of private information on innocent American citizens. With the abilities bestowed by the Patriot Act (a combination of information sharing, roving wiretaps, and preliminary searches without a warrant), U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, has been able to launch an extensive investigation into the financial systems of organized criminals. This investigation has been effective and helpful, but is more detrimental to Americans’ freedom than it is conducive to our safety. ICE’s nationwide efforts to avert dangerous immigrants from entering our country with illegal funds and other contraband has been quite efficacious, resulting in “the arrest of more than 155 individuals and 142 criminal indictments, over $25 million in illicit profits seized, and several unlicensed money transmittal businesses shut down” (DHS:Fact Sheet). Before the Patriot Act, ICE was not able to search people and transactions exiting and entering the country this thoroughly. Even if they were allowed to search thoroughly, information may have not been comprehensive enough to reach a conclusion. The aforementioned information sharing permitted by the Patriot Act allows for correct inferences to be made leading to lawful arrests. None of these arrests would have been made without the Patriot Act. While this feature of the Patriot Act helps keep our country safe it is, again, at the price of freedom. Section 412 of the Patriot Act allows immigrants and other non-citizens to be detained infinitely, which is not only inhumane, but also completely irrational (How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants). Although section 412 does require that immigrants be charged within seven days, immigrants who are found responsible for an immigration violation but no terroristic violation face unrestricted detention if their home country refuses to accept them. The American Civil Liberties Union, a union well known for lobbying for individual American freedom, points out that all that is needed for someone to be placed in indefinite detention is “the Attorney General’s finding of ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ involvement in terrorism or activity that poses a danger to national security” (How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants). This benchmark is just as vague and infinitesimal as the standards required for roving wiretaps to be established. It is unheard of to allow such a serious sanction to be imposed on an individual without any clear and convincing evidence. Meanwhile, there is nothing at all requiring, or even permitting, infinite detainees to any sort of trial or hearing in which their threatening intentions are proven. It is utterly daunting to think that our nation is empowered to assign what is essentially a life sentence without giving the arrestee any trial or hearing. As the American Civil Liberties Union puts it, “What amounts to a life sentence should at a minimum be based on clear proof at a hearing, not on a certification of merely the level of suspicion that normally allows only a brief stop and frisk on the street” (How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants). It is scary to realize that the U.S. government is using a certain level of suspicion, a level that that normally authorizes a small altercation or search in public, to incarcerate someone for potentially the rest of his or her life. While this does not directly affect American citizens, it very well might in the future. If this becomes a standard accepted practice around the world, then American tourists who let their visas expire may soon find themselves spending the rest of their lives in foreign jails simply because one person felt that they were a group of malcontents. In no way is it fair to inflict such a hefty punishment on an individual based on opinions. All people, American or otherwise, have and deserve to maintain their right to a fair trial, a right afforded to them by the Universal Declaration of Human rights, only to be taken away by the Patriot Act. While it can be discerned that the Patriot Act has helped make our nation more secure, it is quite obvious that this legislation is stripping American citizens of their privacy and personal freedoms. The many abilities of the Patriot Act result in the government having extremely easy access to copious amounts of people’s personal information. This is information that citizens have the constitutional right to keep private, yet the government is effortlessly obtaining it. Our nation has actually instituted legal ordinances permitting the indefinite detention of non-citizens even in the event of immigration status violation, a violation that is completely unrelated to acts of terrorism. Since these practices do assist the security of our nation, they should not be completely renounced, but revised. Perhaps evidence retrieved from roving wiretaps should be limited to cases pertinent to the suspect who was wiretapped. This way, other citizens will not reveal personal or condemning information unwittingly. Also, indefinite detention rules should be revised to be in compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; all persons should be granted a fair trial and subsequently issued a punishment rather than being detained indefinitely. The Patriot Act is in need of reform, and our nation is in need of new legislation that protects the security of the nation and its citizens without compromising their privacy and freedom. Bibliography • Cate, Fred H. Privacy in the Information Age. Washington, D.C.: • Brookings Institution, 1997. Print. • Solove, Daniel J. Nothing to Hide the False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security. New • Haven, Conn: Yale UP, 2011. 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University of Maryland Department of English, 2119 Tawes Hall, College Park, MD 20742 301-405-3809 | firstname.lastname@example.org Pros and Cons of the Patriot Act January 5, 2013 Pros and Cons Any rational discussion of the Patriot Act has to take into account what it offers and the risks it presents. Here are some to consider. Pros The Patriot Act removed many of the barriers that law enforcement faced when they needed to institute surveillance on a suspected terrorist very quickly. Formerly, this was very difficult to do, particularly if one of the suspected terrorists was on US soil, which involved much greater restrictions on surveillance. The Patriot Act also updated wiretapping laws to take into account the changing technology of the current era. The sneak and peak provisions allow law enforcement to gather intelligence without alerting a terrorist or terrorist cell that they have been found out, allowing law enforcement to intervene before the plot is actually executed but not before they have an opportunity to identify the individuals and organizations involved, and who may disappear once they know they’ve been discovered. Cons The Patriot Act is also cause for concern, by any rational assessment. The sweeping powers given to the government to conduct surveillance on US citizens means that there is less privacy protection than before and that there is certainly opportunity for abuse. The electronic surveillance provisions apply to suspected terrorists, but that definition is very loose and it’s easy enough for the government to label anyone as a suspected terrorist and to start gathering information on them. The Patriot Act also allows the above-mentioned sneak and peak warrants to be used for any federal crime, including those that only amount to misdemeanors. This highly invasive type of warrant divests and individual of their right to know that they’re being investigated and allows law enforcement, essentially, to break into an individual’s home, to search their possessions and to do so without notifying the individual. Roving wiretaps allow the government to spy on suspected terrorists no matter where they go, without having to apply for another order to spy on another location. Also read article 195, “Security, Liberty, and the War on Terror” (2008), found in Voices of Freedom (Voices of Freedom,Eric Foner 9780393922929). Select a position that supports either: it is necessary to forfeit rights during war or it is necessary to protect rights even when there is war. Keep in mind the balance between security and freedom during war. Consider if the Constitution in and of itself protects citizens’ rights during war. Also, include if dissent to war should be equated as a lack of patriotism. Why or Why not? Remember this is based on fact and not your opinion. Do not try to justify both positions.
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