Discussion 8-2 civil liberties and homeland security

The United States undoubtedly needs to take new steps to prevent terrorism at home. But to what extent should traditional American rights and freedoms be sacrificed in order to crack down on terrorist groups and suspects? Yale law professor Stephen Carter warns, “If terrorists can cause us to become a closed and fearful society, they win.”

— Constitutional Rights Foundation

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As you have learned in this course, the United States has made a tremendous effort to ensure that events like the attacks on 9/11 never happen again. Counterterrorism legislation has been created including the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. A completely new department has been formed, former agencies responsible for counterterrorism have been reorganized, and numerous terrorist plots have been thwarted. Yet there have been significant challenges in this effort to secure our country against terrorism. Perhaps the most important challenge we face is that of maintaining our civil liberties as we continue to combat terrorism. For this discussion, we will explore the balance between civil liberties and homeland security.

Take a position. Do terrorists win if we sacrifice some of our civil liberties to protect our nation?

First, title your post either “Sacrificing civil liberties is acceptable in our fight against terrorism” or “Sacrificing civil liberties is not acceptable in our fight against terrorism.”

Then, make your case. Provide rationale supported by research to defend your position. You may want to take into consideration some of the following as you make your case:

What has been the impact on civil liberties of legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the USA FREEDOM Act?
Is profiling acceptable if it results in thwarted terror plots? Is “enhanced interrogation” or torture justified if it leads to the capture of terrorists? Is the use of electronic surveillance by the government justified?
If so, to what extent should it be regulated? Is the curtailing of civil liberties acceptable if it is temporary?
Where do you draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable loss of civil liberties?

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