The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Surveillance protects U.S., ensures future freedoms

By Susan Tallant/managing editor

   Terrorist surveillance is a necessary part of fighting the war on terror.
   Our president gave this authorization to the National Security Agency to protect Americans.
   After the Sept. 11 attacks, Democrats faulted President Bush, stating he was not doing enough to protect our country from terrorists.
   One of the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission states, “The U.S. government must attack terrorists and their organizations by identifying and prioritizing actual or potential sanctuaries for terrorists, and have a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power.”
   Attack terrorists and their organizations?
   Isn’t that what we are doing by fighting the war on terror in Iraq?
   Have a realistic strategy to keep terrorists insecure and on the run?
   Terrorist surveillance is a realistic strategy.
   Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, principal deputy director of national intelligence, said at the National Press Club Jan. 23, “Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al-Qaida operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such.”
   Our president stated that this is a different kind of war with a different kind of enemy.
   “ If they’re making phone calls into the United States, we need to know why, to protect you,” he said.
   What is more important? Protecting your life? Or making sure that no one hears what secret ingredient goes into grandma’s chicken enchiladas?
   Actually, unless your grandma is sharing that recipe with a known terrorist overseas, the government is really not interested.
   Critics say the program is illegal because the government should be following the original rules made in 1978, authorizing the use of surveillance if the administration gets permission from a secret court within 72 hours.
   When a threat is made, following rules made almost 30 years ago could be costly. Asking for a federal warrant takes up too much time.
   “ The optimal way to achieve the necessary speed and agility is to leave the decisions about particular intercepts to the judgment of professional intelligence officers, based on the best available intelligence information. They can make the call quickly,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.
   Gonzales also said if the intelligence officers have to navigate through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court process for each intercept, it would introduce a significant factor of delay, and there would be critical holes on our early warning system.
   So do we act now and prevent the next attack? Or do we wait until it is too late?
   Dick Cheney said it is easy to take liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you.
   Let’s back our president, support our troops and let the authorities do their jobs to ensure future generations will get to enjoy the same freedom that we do.

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