Post-9/11 Expansion Of Government Powers: Thesis

Length: 10 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Terrorism Type: Thesis Paper: #99946920 Related Topics: Expansion, Espionage, Patriot Act, Watergate
Excerpt from Thesis :

While most see these and other similar reforms as necessary, serving merely as a legal upgrade for law enforcement, one provision of the act's section regarding wireless communication has created much controversy. This section allows foreign intelligence agencies to wiretap citizen's phones and computers without a court order. Bringing the country back to the short-lived standard of 1928, when a fraction of the technology that is used on a regular basis today was even invented, this portion of the act leaves room for the undocumented surveillance of United States citizens (Podesta). Similarly, President George W. Bush announced that in the days and months following the September 11th terrorist attacks he ordered the wiretapping of several United States residents without approval from congress, admitting and defending his expansion of the role of executive. Thus, while both public and private wiretapping have a long history of use in the United States, the post-9/11 panic has resulted in a significant expansion of the government in the area of wiretapping and privacy.

IV. An Exploration of the Arguments Concerning the Government's Expansion of Wiretapping Privileges

While few disagree that both the Patriot Act's treatment of wiretapping and President George W. Bush's decision to order wiretapping without a congressional approval indicate an expansion of the United States government, arguments both for and against the expansion exist. For the Bush Whitehouse, and many law enforcement agents, wiretapping without a court order is "a necessary program," allowing for the disruption of terrorist cells throughout the country (Smith, the Whitehouse"). In fact, according to official Whitehouse statements, the Patriot Act has already lead to the dissolution of several terrorist cells and the prosecution of terrorists from several states. President George W. Bush also argued that his actions simply brought to light an already common executive policy, suggesting that after the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal, "presidents have ceded some of the legitimate power of the office" in favor of positive public opinion (Smith). Bush defends his claims with the constitution's second amendment, which defines the office's executive powers, most importantly its powers as commander-in-chief. Both the Bush administration and some legal scholars suggest that these powers pertain not only to a president's right to wage wars in other nations and command his or her own military, but also that they apply to his or her responsibility to maintain order within the United States. Similarly, while "all necessary and appropriate force" is usually considered military force, some suggest that wiretapping and surveillance is a type of force necessary for insuring the safety of the nation (Smith).

While legal and constitutional backing...


For example, Leslie Wollack's Nation Cities Weekly article suggests that New York City is still underprepared for disasters like the September 11, 2001 attacks and Bruce Kuniholm calls for a more comprehensive Bush doctrine, suggesting that "the enemy now is international terrorism -- an elusive enemy that can be targeted only through massive international cooperation coupled with the will to go after terrorists and the states that harbor them" (427). Because the United States' and the world's terrorist problem is far from being solved, some suggest that an expanded executive in terms of wireless tapping is necessary.

But some still see the expansion as tredding on the toes of American's civil liberties. For instance, a 2006 Washington Post-ABC News Poll suggested that about 2/3 of Americans believe that President Bush's "domestic eavesdropping without court authorization" is not justified by the extreme situation of international and domestic terrorism. Because most of those surveyed said that they did support "aggressive government pursuit of terrorist threats, even if it may infringe on personal privacy" it is safe to say that the president's decision to use wiretapping without a court order is of an extermally controversial nature.

I. Conclusion

Although wiretapping has been a part of American history since the late 1800s, the events of September 11, 2001 turned the issue into one of significant importance for the United States government and its citizens. While the United States constitution had precariously set up checks and balances to limit the power of its three branches, the events of September 11, 2001 significantly expanded the power of those branches and the government as a whole using, among other tools, wiretapping. By using his executive power as commander and chief to authorize the use of wiretapping on American citizens without a court order, President George W. Bush set a precident for liberal interpretation and non-military national security intervention.

Just one of several aspects of government expansion launched after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush's treatment of wiretapping and his increased executive powers have resulted in a great deal of controversy throughout the United States. For some, the expansion of powers marks a rightful attempt to protect American citizens, a necessary endeavor in light of the holes in national security still rampant despite continued efforts to address it. For others, the expansion marks a dangerous slippery slope toward government control and civil rights abuses. Regardless of these controversies, the expansion of government powers since the September 11th terrorist attacks have introduced a new phase in American government and history that scholars must analyze in order to make assumptions regarding American law and policy.

Works Cited

Americans see 9/11 as most important event of their lives." 10

September 2007. 7 August 2008.

Balz, Dan and Deane, Claudia. "Differing Views on Terrorism." The Washington Post.

11 January 2006.

Complete 911 Timeline." History Commons. n.d. History Commons. 8 August 2008.

Harris, Tom. "How Wiretapping Works." 2008. How Stuff Woks. 8 August 2008. How Stuff Works.

Kuniholm, Bruce R. "9/11, the Great Game and the Vision Thing: The Need for (and

Elements of) a More Comprehensive Bush doctrine." The Journal of American History. 89.2 (2002): 426-438.

Podesta, John. "USA Patriot Act: The Good, the bad, and the Sunset." Human Rights

Magazine. n.d. American Bar Association. 8 August 2008.

Smith, Patricia. "Is the government listening? The expansion of domestic spying after 9/11 raises constitutional issues." New York Times Upfront. 20 February 2002: Cover Story.

USA Patriot Act." The Whitehouse. 2006. The United States Government. August 2008.

Wollack, Leslie. "Report analyzes nation's most significant…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Americans see 9/11 as most important event of their lives." 10

September 2007. 7 August 2008.

Balz, Dan and Deane, Claudia. "Differing Views on Terrorism." The Washington Post.

11 January 2006.
Harris, Tom. "How Wiretapping Works." 2008. How Stuff Woks. 8 August 2008. How Stuff Works.
Magazine. n.d. American Bar Association. 8 August 2008.
USA Patriot Act." The Whitehouse. 2006. The United States Government. August 2008.

Cite this Document:

"Post-9 11 Expansion Of Government Powers " (2008, August 08) Retrieved November 28, 2021, from

"Post-9 11 Expansion Of Government Powers " 08 August 2008. Web.28 November. 2021. <>

"Post-9 11 Expansion Of Government Powers ", 08 August 2008, Accessed.28 November. 2021,

Related Documents
Post-9/11 Foreign Policies
Words: 1022 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Terrorism Paper #: 21051630

9/11 Policies In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there were many changes in U.S. domestic and foreign policy. The attacks highlighted the risks posed to Americans both at home and abroad. The Bush government enacted several policies in response to the attacks. Domestically, two stand out as the most significant. The first was the Homeland Security Act of 2002. This act created the Department of Homeland Security, which

Strategic Management of the U.S. Airline Industry After 9-11 2001
Words: 3479 Length: 12 Pages Topic: Terrorism Paper #: 62492947

POST-9/11 Management OF U.S. AIRLINE INDUSTRY Strategic Management of the United States Airline Industry after the 9/11/2001 Terrorist Attacks Strategic Management of the United States Airline Industry after the 9/11/2001 Terrorist Attacks Airlines in the United States have a long, complicated history in terms of management strategy that includes alterations due to technological advances, bankruptcies, economic downturns, deregulation and even presidential intervention, but none of these forces had the power to both destroy and restructure

Post War Iraq a Paradox in the Making Legitimacy Vs. Legality
Words: 14187 Length: 35 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 57694954

Post War Iraq: A Paradox in the Making: Legitimacy vs. legality The regulations pertaining to the application of force in International Law has transformed greatly from the culmination of the Second World War, and again in the new circumstances confronting the world in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. Novel establishments have been formed, old ones have withered away and an equally enormous quantity of intellectual writing has

Marshall Plan and the Post
Words: 6775 Length: 20 Pages Topic: Drama - World Paper #: 17805296

Thus, paramount American interests were to be presented as being really the interests of the Europeans themselves. It would be a situation wherein America was simply helping along people who were, at present, unable to adequately help themselves. The concept had much in common with the goals of many charity or self-help organizations - people grow and are transformed by learning to help themselves. They are given assistance so as

Muslim Americans and the Impact of September 11th
Words: 3945 Length: 12 Pages Topic: Terrorism Paper #: 59788510

Immigration and the Muslim Population 9/11 changed the world -- especially in the U.S. in terms of Muslim-American relations and the way the word "terror" and "terrorist" is used to identify or refer to a group of people.[footnoteRef:1] The issue of Islamaphobia became more pronounced and anti-Muslim immigration policies began to be discussed as a matter of national security.[footnoteRef:2] As -- has shown, the media has been complicit in both demonizing

Security Information Is the Power. The Importance
Words: 5012 Length: 15 Pages Topic: Education - Computers Paper #: 659336

Security Information is the Power. The importance of collecting, storing, processing and communicating the relevant information presently is viewed as crucial in order to achieve success in almost all the fields be it business firms, individuals or organizations. An integrated set of components assisting collection, store, process and communication of information is termed as information system. Increasing dependence on information systems is noticed in order to excel in the respective fields