November 20, 2008
Writing About World Affairs
Word Count: 708
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, many of the counterterrorism measures taken by President George W. Bush and his administration have been questioned concerning their legality, morality and practicality. Chief among the issues being debated is that of warrantless wiretapping and data mining inside of the United States. This unprecedented use of executive power has been directed by the National Security Agency since 2001. Bush administration officials argue that the civil liberties concerns are unfounded. They also state the NSA program does not target Americans. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” wrote John Yoo, a former official in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Several official also assert that the program had helped expose a plot byIyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver and naturalized citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting al Qaeda by planning to demolish the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches. Another plot involving fertilizer bomb attacks on British train station was revealed and thwarted in part due to the NSA’s program, officials said (Bush Lets U.S. Spy…). Many law scholars, judges, activists, and intelligence experts have pronounced that the counterterrorism actions taken by the Bush administration, namely warrantless wiretapping have been unlawful, impractical, and immoral. While the administration contends that the measures it has taken since September 11 have made the United States safer, those same opponents would vie that it has not, while still violating civil liberties and Constitutional law.
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