Results of Terrorism on the Law

Respond to the posts of at least two peers. Which of the changes your peers mention do you think will have the greatest impact on law enforcement and why?
Classmate 1 Eric
On September 11, 2001 I was sitting in a Field Training Officer certification course just outside the Atlanta Airport. After the first plane struck the tower, many of us crowded around a television during our break. We witnessed the second plane strike on live television. Pagers began activating, and classmates quickly left training to report for duty. It wasn’t my first brush with terrorism, but it was personal. And like most Americans, I wanted my government to take action, and make sure terrorists couldn’t use our free society against us. The USA Patriot Act was passed by the Senate 98-1, and the House 357-66 (Department of Justice). America went to war, and we had new laws designed to bolster our ability to catch terrorists.

Many Americans since 9/11 have begun to question the greater level of power given to law enforcement as a result of the Patriot Act. Several key provisions have been problematic for many. The Patriot Act allows for a greater level of electronic surveillance of American citizens. This is viewed by many as a privacy invasion. Veronica Baas details that she finds the provision of the law which allows for monitoring of phone calls suspected of criminal activity but lacking probable cause to be a violation of the 4th amendment (2018). Much of the debate over the electronic surveillance came to light as a result of the treason committed by Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden released classified material that showed the extent of the electronic surveillance program (Ray, 2019). While many feel that telecommunications should have greater privacy, the reality is that this provision was paramount to crippling terrorist organizations. I have far less concern over the government listening than the invasions done by Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

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Another ethical issue raised by Veronica Baas is the ability for the federal government to detain illegal aliens indefinitely should their country of origin refuse to accept them. Baas contends that not granting these individuals a bond pending deportation hearings is unethical. I disagree with her assessment. Someone caught entering the country illegally might merely be seeking a better standard of living. Or they might be intent on the next terror attack. The government should be able to determine which of these bad actors constitutes a risk, and refuse them bond.

A final ethical issue raised is the use of drones to eliminate terrorists. Some would argue that if the individual is an American they should be granted due process of a trial, rather than being eliminated. I would suggest that if the individual is on American soil, I would agree that drone strikes are not an acceptable avenue. Conversely, if the individual has betrayed his Country and is fighting oversees, American technology is a wonderful thing. I would not endanger American lives to capture him on the battlefield when a drone can eliminate the non-uniformed combatant.

Classmate # 2 Kyle

Since 911, we have seen laws and executive orders from the president becoming forceful on rights of individuals. in 2011 President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed for indefinite detentions to take place. This can create many legal problems. One fear is that someone here at home can be detained against their will, who is a legal citizen. One ethical problem, is that this can be used as a political option for future Presidents and could be abused. This was one of the many complaints about this authorization. Another ethical issue, is fighting against those who choose to go into the grey area, and doing what is right or doing what is easier. One big way I feel we can fix this, repealing this section in the NDAA. As humans we do not have the problem the mindset to always do what’s right.

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