Al Qaeda According to the Term Paper

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The Department of Homeland Security was created "to develop and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen protections against terrorist threats or attacks in the U.S.," according to the Department of State. Ostensibly, the Department will help prevent, prepare for, manage, and recover from future terrorist attacks on American soil. The most visible contribution of the Department of Homeland Security is its much-ridiculed color-coded terrorism alarm system.

The Department of Homeland Security is partly a symbolic response to the failure of existing American intelligence organizations like the CIA and NSA to predict or prevent the September 11 attacks. Boosting both intelligence and homeland security has been a primary concern of the government because of the potential proliferation of terrorist cells in the United States.

In addition to some structural changes to the federal government, the Bush administration also initiated landmark counter-terrorist legislation the most significant of which is the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act. The Patriot Act basically extends the powers of the federal government over searches, seizures, and surveillance of citizens and organizations. Although the Patriot Act provisions were designed to target home-grown terrorists, terrorist organizations, cells, and aid groups, its scope is relatively broad. Law enforcement can invoke the Patriot Act without having to first prove any direct connection between a suspect and al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group. The Patriot Act permits the government to freeze the assets of suspect organizations, too.

Without a doubt, security policies since September 11 have significantly curtailed civil liberties in the United States.
The government has never hid the fact that the Patriot Act makes it easier for law enforcement officials to gather information and conduct surveillance on citizens. Invasion of privacy is put forth as a reasonable response to acts of terror and as the most effective means to catch potential terrorists. The Patriot Act is, however, easily abused. One possible of the most disturbing effects of post-9/11 domestic policies is the ways Constitutional rights have been curtailed. Freedom of speech has been a casualty of the war on terror, as political dissidents have been systematically silenced by the media only until recently. Individuals arrested under Patriot Act provisions can also expect harsher treatment in the criminal justice system. The United States has held terrorist suspects for an indefinite period of time in the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, weaseling out of the Constitutional provision for due process.


Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). "al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida)." 7 July 2005. Retrieved Dec 9, 2006 at

Timeline: Al-Qaeda." BBC News. 4 Sept 2006. Retrieved Dec 9, 2006 at

US Department of State. "Office of Homeland Security: Basic Facts." Retrieved Dec 9, 2006 at

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