Tag Archives: Homeland Security

Domestic Surveillance

An Essay on Domestic Surveillance

In his essay on domestic surveillance, Philip Heymann explores the ways in which technological advancements have changed expectations of privacy and the legal protections against government intrusion. He outlines current constitutional and other legal protections, including evolving limitations on government activity that could be considered not a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. Heymann concludes with predictions about the future balance between citizens’ demands for privacy and the government need for information.

The Wasp’s Nest: Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection

Meyer and Berenbaum analyze the national security policy challenge in balancing protections for Intelligence Community whistleblowers and the government’s legitimate need for secrecy in order to execute the federal intelligence and counterintelligence mission. It is that need for secrecy that creates the intellectual distance between the sovereign’s requirement for information regarding the performance of the federal intelligence and counterintelligence mission and the ability to conduct that mission.

Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool

In January 2011, Congress enacted legislation prohibiting the use of federal funds to transfer to the United States any individuals currently detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Among the purposes of this provision, observers commented, was to prevent the prosecution of these detainees in federal court in the United States. President Obama signed the legislation into law as part of the Defense Authorization Act, but he also issued a statement strongly objecting to the provision and pledging to seek its repeal:

[This provision] represents a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is a powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation and must beamong the options available to us. Any attempt to deprive the executive branch of that tool undermines our Nation’s counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.

The congressional action and the President’s response are part of a broader public debate about the role of law enforcement as a counterterrorism tool. Some question the effectiveness of the U.S. criminal justice system and argue that it should never be used against terrorists, or at least some kinds of terrorists. In contrast, some others argue that law enforcement is the only legitimate way to detain terrorists, and that they should either be prosecuted in the civilian courts or released. This article argues that we should continue to use all of the military, law enforcement, intelligence, diplomatic, and economic tools at our disposal, selecting in each case the particular tool that is most effective under the circumstances, consistent with our laws and values. The discussion proceeds in five main parts.