Individual Privacy vs. National Security

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Individual Privacy vs. National Security

Individual Privacy vs. National Security is something that many people have argued for years. Many people have forgotten what a disturbance September 11, 2001 was to everyone in America. This was the day that 2,992 lives were stolen in the attacks by the Taliban on U.S. soil. Due to this attack the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) along with the Federal Government has put in place many new security regulations. Many people have lost touch with why these regulations were put in place. As well, many people have lost touch with why TSA is using full body scanners and other security devices. On September 11, 2001 19 members of a global terrorism network called al-Qaeda in a planned and coordinated effort used bladed weapons and fake bombs to hijack four commercial passenger airplanes simultaneously. Two planes were purposely crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center Complex in New York City, a third plane was purposely crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers alerted to the other hijackings and crashes tried to regain control of their aircraft from the terrorists. It is believed that terrorists intended to crash that plane into the Capital building. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people, mostly civilians, and the 19 hijackers (National Commission Report, 2004). Unfortunately this the September 11th attacks of the World Trade Center was not the first attempt. On February 26, 1993 World Trade Tower One was rattled with explosive bombs from the parking basement. This was the first attack by terrorists on American soil which frightened many Americans. The bombing resulted in the immediate death of six and left over 1000 injured. The attempt was to knock down the first tower causing a domino effect that would knock down the second tower. Fortunately the attack did not go as planned and they were unable to bring down the towers. Although the bombing did rip a crater into the building that was 150 feet in diameter and five floors deep, rupturing sewer and main lines of electricity. (USA Government, 2011) In the wake of both of these attacks, Congress passed several initiatives that would later become controversial, including the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Which included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a cabinet-level government agency that initially included the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These agencies were to provide security for America’s transportation system(s). Providing airport security became TSA’s highest profile and most controversial role (National Commission Report, 2004). Since its creation, TSA has constantly upgraded its equipment and techniques for passenger and baggage screening to better safeguard the American traveling public, but since this is the agency’s most visible activity and one that directly impacts ordinary citizens many of the new screening methods and techniques have been met with criticism from travelers (TSA, 2011) TSA has several types of screening methods available for use. There are x-ray machines and conveyor belts, Magnetometer or walk through metal detectors, hand held metal detectors, Explosive Threat Detection equipment and the most criticized the full body scanners. One screening process was the requirement of all passengers to remove their shoes before flights for security inspections. This change was brought about following the attempt by al-Qaeda terrorist Richard Reid to set off an explosive device hidden in his shoe during a flight December 22, 2001. At first, passengers accepted the new procedure, but as time passed from the September 11 and Reid’s shoe bomb attack travelers became less and less tolerant of the security measure. (TSA, 2011) Passenger screening and security came back to the...
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