Criminal Justice - Counterterrorism Counterterrorism Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

S. law. Legislation such as many elements of the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT are problematic because they do not provide adequate controls to ensure that investigative methods and procedures appropriate under some circumstances cannot be used in circumstances where they are inappropriate under U.S. law.

4. What is the FISA Court? Explain how it works. What authorities can it grant law enforcement? How is it different from traditional courts? What concerns exist about expanding the use of FISA?

The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) was established to regulate the use of surveillance by the executive branch of government in the wake of various unconstitutional investigations conducted by the Nixon administration in connection with monitoring political rivals and government opposition groups. The FISA Act authorized the covert monitoring of information and communication exchanges of entities of foreign governments engaged in espionage and intelligence collection activities in the U.S. pursuant to review by the FISA Court. In 2001, the FISA Act was amended to allow for governmental surveillance of entities not specifically connected to any foreign nation provided those entities were involved in communications or activities posing a grave risk of harm to the U.S. including those associated with international terrorism. The FISA court established a court to review government surveillance must certify applications for the covert interception of or access to information and communications authorized by the president through the attorney general.

The primary concerns about FISA relate to the absence of any warrant application prior to surveillance and the adequacy of limitations and controls to ensure that surveillance mechanism it provides do not exceed their legal scope. Those concerns were illustrated very recently by former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst Russell Tice who publicly revealed the extent to which the NSA misused authorization for covert surveillance by intercepting telephone records of ordinary Americans. Those misuses also included the deliberate targeting of journalists considered to be hostile to the Bush presidential administration.

5. How has aviation security changed since 9/11? What were the provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Act? Did this act changed aviation security in a dramatic way? What role does racial or religious profiling play in securing the aviation industry and its consumers? What role should it play?

After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act federalized airport security and established the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) within the Department of Transportation. Since then, the TSA has been absorbed by the newly created Department of Homeland Security administrated by the Director of Homeland Security, a newly created cabinet position. The most immediate and widespread changes imposed by the Act included the hiring of approximately 60,000 federal security screeners at all domestic airports, enhanced screening procedures and rules for flying, the addition of explosive detection and X-ray machines to screen all passenger cargo baggage, and the physical reinforcement of all cockpit doors. The Federal Air Martial (FAM) program was also expanded dramatically from an agency employing approximately one dozen FAMs to one that now employs more than one thousand but whose exact numbers are classified.

Racial profiling is currently strictly prohibited under U.S. law, but there may be very good arguments to make certain exception in connection with international terrorism. Whereas the current threat from Islamic radicals does not justify persecution of any individual or the suspension of their civil rights in general, in the case of airport security screening, constitutional protections severely compromise terrorist prevention efforts. Consider, for example, the situation where white supremacists such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) or black militant followers of the Black Panther movement of the 1960s were the primary terrorist threat against domestic airports. In that case, counterterrorism efforts directed exclusively at screening black individuals or white individuals (respectively) would be logically justified rather than examples of unconstitutional persecution. In the era of militant Islamic terrorism against the West, focusing counterterrorism efforts of Islamic individuals may make more sense than imposing standards of randomness that undermine national security efforts.

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