Terrorism and Illegal Surveillance. “Can the government break the law to prevent terrorism?”. A controversy that traces back to the 60s…. Now: Global Terrorism. 1960s: Weathermen.
“Can thegovernment break the law to prevent terrorism?”
A controversy that traces back to the 60s…
Now: Global Terrorism
On top of domestic terrorism, nowadays U.S. faces potential threats from all over the world. Not only can the Al Qaeda stage attacks on U.S. territory but “groups based in Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq” are able to harm US interest
overseas.6 The terrorism is more and more
complex, “transnational,” “dynamic,” and
threatening to “critical infrastructure.”3
The Weathermen was an anti-U.S. government organization founded in 1969. Believing that “peaceful protests were ineffective,” Weathermen quickly became a terrorist group. It organized several violent demonstrations and a series of bombing in order to "Bring the war home.”1 The FBI put
it on the Ten Most Wanted List in 1970.1
Similar to the FBI in the 60s, The
National Security Agency(NSA) started
intense monitoring to prevent terrorism,
the only difference: they were now monitoring civilians as well. The NSA eavesdropped on Americans “without the court-approved warrants required for domestic spying.”4It also monitored people in the U.S. who were “linked, even if indirectly, to suspected terrorists.”4These actions, though maybe useful to curb terrorism, greatly violated the law.
In response to the Weathermen, The
FBI started the COINTELPRO program that
took covert actions against domestic political groups. The Weathermen’s home was “regularly ransacked” and its cars “vandalized.”
5 The FBI also made a plan to bomb Weathermen’s houses and assassinate its leaders. “Mail fraud, wire fraud, and incitement to violence” were also part of FBI’s “psychological warfare.”2,5 These actions,
though effective, were unlawful.