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Response to Anti-terrorism bill

            As a response to the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 in New York City, efforts have been made to devise new forms of security that will prevent atrocious acts of that caliber from re-occurring. The anti-terrorism bill, signed on Friday November 16, 2001 by president Bush was designed to alleviate the possibility of new attacks by terrorist. The anti-terrorism bill calls for extreme measures that may infringe on the civil liberties of citizens. The question now arises as to whether the need for a bill that carries the extremity of the anti-terrorism bill is necessary or does it go too far?.
             Following the September 11, occurrences Attorney General Jim Ryan proposed the anti-terrorism bill. Under this bill law enforcement official will be able to wiretap all telephones used by suspect terrorist as well as allow FBI agents to obtain billing records from hotels, phone companies and seize money or property from suspects (O"Connor, John; Associated Press State & Local Wire). The need for court orders to perform the aforementioned will no longer be necessary. Under Jim Ryan's legislation the .
             definition of terrorism is also narrowed down in order to prevent civil activist groups from being deprived of their first amendment right. The current terrorist definition being used is "threats, violence, destruction or murder with the intent to intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population" (McDermott, Kevin; St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
             The anti-terrorism bill was passed unanimously through the house, with a 355-66 vote, and the senate, with a 98-1 vote, at a rapid pace (www.chiadaily.com). According to president Bush the bill is "an essential step in defeating terrorism" (www.latimes.com). In order to prevent the over exercise of power by law enforcement agents, an expiration date was placed on wiretapping and surveillance power. The expiration year is set for 2005. The anti-terrorism bill was carefully written to protect the citizens and yet preserve their civil liberties.

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