Monday, January 02, 2006

Sacrificing civil liberties?

Sherry Colb, Professor and Frederick B. Lacey Scholar at Rutgers Law School, has an interesting opinion piece on FindLaw's Legal Commentary.

Aside from providing a good background discussion on warrants, she explores the impact 9/11 had on warrant requirements. She writes:

"...we now know that the problem on September 11th was not the failure to have gathered intelligence. It was the failure to read the intelligence we already had (about flight schools and planned airplane attacks on the World Trade Center towers), to which the administration had ready access. The problem, in other words, was too much -- and poorly organized -- information, rather than not enough. The continuing broad surveillance of U.S. citizens, without oversight, thus promises only to aggravate matters."
She concludes that:
"The warrant requirement is a critical component of our democracy. Right now, it ensures that someone outside of the Bush Administration might be in a position to criticize and veto decisions that could be biased, mistaken, and ultimately fatal to the freedom that Bush and his critics alike hold dear."
You know, as a librarian I feel I am expected to come down firmly against the Patriot Act, however, I find myself quite torn because I think some of provisions in the Act are a good thing (like getting various intelligence agencies sharing information).

Did law enforcement have the tools they needed before 9/11? Review a speech by President Bush from 2001. He says they didn't.

Where is the balance to draw between liberty and security? The Cato Institute has an article, dating from September 18, 2001, that argues: "the answer is not to sacrifice the civil liberties of citizens to safeguard citizens from terrorists' atrocities."

Can we prevent terrorism, without sacrificing civil liberties?


Post a Comment

<< Home