The Security vs. Civil Liberties

One of the most difficult issues in criminal justice has been the balancing act between public
safety and security and civil liberties. This balancing act has become even more difficult in the
ongoing war on terrorism. For instance, in 2013, a government contractor, Edward Snowden,
leaked classified material from the National Security Agency (NSA). The leaks revealed NSA
programs that secretly collected data regarding emails, texts, and phone use by Americans
without probable cause. Many people felt the actions of the NSA were appropriate and that the
government should be able to compromise constitutional rights to prevent terrorism. Others felt
the NSA actions were illegal and had to be stopped. While most would agree that terrorism is a
serious concern, how far should the government go?
After reading the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the USA Patriot Act, the USA Freedom
Act and the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments, research the actions of the government post
9/11 and write a paper.
• Determine whether the government’s overriding need to fight terrorism outweighs the 1st
,
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th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendment rights of the people within the United States.
• Evaluate whether or not 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments apply to terrorists since the
writers of the Constitution could not have envisioned mass shootings and suicide
bombers.
• Assess whether the USA PATRIOT Act, USA FREEDOM Act, or the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act violate the Constitution.
• Determine whether United States Government violated the Constitution by its actions
pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act, USA FREEDOM Act, or the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance
• Assess whether the 4th Amendment requirement of probable cause should be waived
when investigating terrorism.
The Security vs. Civil Liberties paper