Security vs. Liberty

Topics: USA PATRIOT Act, George W. Bush, National Security Letter Pages: 4 (1116 words) Published: April 25, 2006
Security vs. Liberty:
The Battle for America

In the wake of September 11th, the country was in turmoil. Fear and confusion were rampant; direction was required. President George Bush, in a famous address, acknowledged the severity of the attacks, and called for a newly invigorated sense of nationalism. His plan for preventing future attacks called for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and expanded powers to intelligence agencies (Bush). During this time, one of the most provocative bills was allowed to pass, under the guise of a terrorist seeking bill. The Patriot Act was indeed effective in increasing the power allotted to surveillance agencies, but many feel at too high of a cost. Many have asked the question… "is the cure worse than the disease?" In order to appropriately analyze the Patriot Act, it is important to look at its exact stipulations, and how it has been used (misused) at the time of its passage and now. On Oct 24th 2001, the Patriot Act made its first appearance in front of the 107th Congress. In a move towards stronger military and better intelligence, the White House introduced "An Act To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled" (Trandahl 1). Notice the now notoriously and ominously vague phrase that states simply "and for other purposes" (Trandahl 1). However, because of the post September 11th hysteria, the US was willing to allow such a bill to pass through. In times of crisis, it is common for countries to enter a mode of blind nationalism, and the Patriot Act fit the bill. It seemed appropriate at a time where every home was decorated in red white and blue to have a bill that promised to find and destroy domestic terrorists that we were readily assured were residing in our midst. It was a declaration...

Cited: Bush, George. Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People. 20 Sept.
2001. The White House. 2 Dec. 2005.

Trandahl, Jeff. USA Patriot Act. 24 Oct. 2001. US Senate. 2 Dec. 2005.
Kronholz, June. "Reader Beware: Patriot Act Riles An Unlikely Group: Nation 's
Librarians". 28 Oct. 2003. Bernie Sanders. 2 Dec. 2005.
"Patriot Act Reauthorization in Final Days Before Vote". 16 Nov. 2005. American Civil
Liberties Union. 2 Dec. 2005.
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