| In January 2006, the president acknowledged that he had authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept international communications from known terrorist agencies. … he also signed a secret order that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on international communications that involved both U.S. citizens and residents. |
September 11, 2001, changed how citizens of the United States view their freedom. As security measures were either imposed or strengthened, individuals were willing to give up some of the freedoms that they have held dear for centuries, if it was good for our security and safety. But as time passes, we start questioning why we cannot do certain things, or more appropriately, why government can restrict our freedoms.
In January 2006, the president acknowledged that he had authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept international communications from known terrorist agencies. The president has used as justification the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Shortly after September 11, he also signed a secret order that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on international communications that involved both U.S. citizens and residents.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has determined that existing statutes and our Constitution give legal authority to the president to conduct domestic eavesdropping for the purpose of detecting and preventing another catastrophic attack on America. In the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, the president has a primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people, as well as the full authority necessary to carry out that solemn duty.
Citizens may generally agree that activities involving eavesdropping on terrorists abroad are necessary to ensure our safety and security; but, some of these individuals protest domestic eavesdropping, citing the limitation of our freedoms.
There have been times when so-called spying activities were acceptable. In World War II, the government had segments of the population under investigation, monitoring correspondence and activities. This example, of course, relates to a wartime situation of a different era.
As everyone knows, technology has sped up communication. Cellular phones have become mainstream, and individuals do not need a landline to discuss their concerns or plans. Computers have become a universal method of correspondence. These modalities, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), have made it possible to communicate from anywhere to anywhere at any time. This changes how crimes are planned and carried out. Crime fighting must also change.
Americans need to trust government to do what is necessary to keep the citizenry safe, and that can include warrantless domestic eavesdropping.