Since 9/11 security has become a huge political issue. Keeping the citizens of the U.S. safe has become Priority #1 (at least in speeches). And how do they ensure our safety? Some of the protections aren't too inconvenient: airport screening takes longer, and occasionally there are more cops around than normal, oh and we've spent a lot of money what else is new.
But some programs like the NSA wiretapping and provisions of the patriot act that allow for certain invasions of privacy have people like me bridling. I don't really want the government to have access to my library records (I mean do they really need to know about my prediliction for bad fantasy novels?). Also,Torture has become a huge hot button issue, and it seems in some circles that if you don't agree with it, it is because you don't want the safety of Americans. Like the quotes I posted here a few days ago, the government has used our fear of another terrorist attack to justify actions that before 9/11 would never have been tolerated.
But there is a counterargument, from John C. Gannon, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence:
"I believe that the hard-won Constitutional freedoms enjoyed by Americans, along with our unparalleled commitment to civil liberties embedded in law, work against the development of domestic terrorist networks that could be exploited by foreigners."..."This is not an academic point for me. It is an observation from a career of watching the domestic consequences of repressive regimes elsewhere in the world--including US-friendly Islamic governments such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt,"
He has a lot of good things to say, read the whole article, here's what he had to say about the NSA program (emphasis mine):
"The NSA warrantless surveillance program--the details of which are mired in secrecy--should not be seen as a tradeoff between security and civil liberties. But, for this to be true, the program must be bound by law and subject to both judicial review and competent Congressional oversight--the latter now in short supply."
I hope that someone, say the democrats maybe, will take his words and follow through. The American people should not have to sacrifice their freedom to protect it. Protecting our civil liberties is not being soft on terrorism. It is protecting what this country stands for even in the face of the enemy. We have to defy their attempts to cow us by standing strong.