I support the use of electronic surveillance of U.S citizens without a court order in cases of suspected terrorist activities. Advancement in technology has enabled terrorists to exploit any security lapse and attack innocent people. Terrorism remains to be a threat to the national security, and the act of National security agency (NSA) spying on private calls is a way of keeping the country safe from any terrorist attack. Since the intelligence agency began monitoring phone calls and emails, various deadly attacks have been averted. For instance, NSA uncovered a plot by Iyman Faris to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge which would have caused multiple deaths (Risen, " Lichtblau, 2005). Besides, the NSA mostly spies on the people who are suspected to have connections with terrorism and never shares the information obtained from the program. Therefore, I support the electronic surveillance program as it seeks to ensure that the Americans are safe from terrorism. The security of the American citizens is more crucial than the privacy of a few jihad and terrorists sympathizers.
The law enforcement agencies have a significant role in gathering intelligence to combat domestic terrorism. The process of gathering intelligence involves following possible leads relating to major terrorist activities and uncovering their plots (Laub, 2017). The intelligence obtained is used to set the necessary security measures hence averting future terrorist attacks. Sharing this information with various agencies like FBI, CIA, NSA and homeland security will be helpful in preventing future domestic attacks in the country. All the law enforcement agencies will be put on high alert if there are suspicions of a possible attack in the country.
One of the policy changes to make is to have a framework that allows officers in the different agencies to share any information that can be helpful in averting possible attacks. For instance, the September 11 attacks could have been avoided if the agencies had shared critical information (Zegart, 2005). Secondly, law enforcement agencies should invest in technology to help them gather reliable intelligence about the terrorists. Thirdly, the agencies should build a rapport and cooperate with the public as a way of creating public confidence which can enhance the sharing of vital information by the people.
I disagree with this viewpoint of not meriting the same treatment of the justice system to terrorists like ordinary criminals. Most of them are innocent youths who are radicalized and misled with erratic information, and most of them join the terrorist groups out of bad influence. However, most of the local terrorists become remorseful after they engage in deadly attacks and they surrender or turn against the terrorists. If a terrorist is treated like a common criminal, there are chances of cooperating with the law authorities by giving vital information that can lead to the capture of more terrorists. Therefore, awarding the enemy combatants a fair justice system can help the country to arrest more terrorists.
I believe that the judges should have the authority to designate someone as an enemy combatant. This is because they have the chance of reviewing all the evidence from the law enforcement agencies and the defense from the accused. Therefore, the judges can make their decisions based on facts rather than public outcry and political pressure. For instance, the president might be pressured by his party to designate someone as an enemy combatant which might be inaccurate. The judicial officers are the only people who have a fair chance of designating someone as an enemy combatant.
Laub, Z., (2017). The FBI’s Role in National Security. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/fbis-role-national-security
Risen, J., " Lichtblau, E., (2005). Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers without Courts. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/bush-lets-us-spy-on-callers-without-courts.html
Zegart, A. B. (2005). September 11 and the adaptation failure of US intelligence agencies. International Security, 29(4), 78-111.