Evaluate the effectiveness of domestic intelligence reform in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The most sweeping changes to domestic intelligence capabilities came with the creation and passage of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act. This legislation provided sweeping new provisions for domestic intelligence. In addition, the uses of more intrusive intelligence collection techniques under the approvals of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.) have increased dramatically since the terrorist attacks. Recent revelations concerning the N.S.A. wiretapping program, which resulted in the monitoring of phone calls placed by Americans domestically, caused serious concern regarding the limits of intelligence and the protection of civil liberties.
Immediately following the terrorist attacks, there was widespread support for increased domestic intelligence to protect the homeland. However, support for these new provisions has ebbed and flowed since 2001 as debate intensifies over what is the appropriate balance of intelligence collection versus protection of civil liberties. The path of this debate will decide the direction and amount of domestic intelligence collection authorized in the future.
For this paper, suppose you are in the position of a policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. You are assigned to evaluate whether or not the current domestic intelligence provisions provide sufficient protection of citizens’ civil rights while simultaneously allowing for adequate intelligence collection to detect, disrupt, and deter future terrorist attacks.
Begin by providing a brief overview of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, citing its purpose, basic provisions, and its recent amendments. Then, provide a brief overview of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.), its purpose, and its basic provisions.
Once you have provided the appropriate scope, create two brief case studies that assess whether or not the U.S.A. Patriot Act and F.I.S.A. achieve their intended purpose. In these two case studies make sure to address the following.
*Identify at least one instance in which the creation of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act prevented a terrorist attack on the U.S.
*Identify at least one instance in which the provisions of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act resulted in the unwarranted infringement of a citizen’s civil liberties.
*Identify at least one instance in which surveillance authorized under F.I.S.A. disrupted a terrorist plot in the U.S.
*Identify at least one instance in which F.I.S.A. resulted in the unwarranted monitoring of an innocent American.
Finally, provide an analysis of the intelligence collection mechanisms authorized under these legislative documents. Address their effect on civil liberties, domestic intelligence collection, and outline areas in which either of these two documents could be improved to better achieve their purpose. Finish by expressing whether or not you believe domestic intelligence collection will expand or retract in the future.
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