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Democracy In Crisis

            Because of the terrorist attacks of September eleventh and other recent events, top United States officials are now seeking legislation to reinforce the national security of the country. Faced with the fear that the upcoming war with Iraq will illicit more unwarranted terrorist attacks, many lawmakers are passing laws that threaten United States citizens" civil rights. The American spying laws are undergoing the most change currently, especially those concerned with spying on American citizens in the United States. The lawmakers responsible for altering these laws must be absolutely sure that they do not threaten the civil rights currently existing in the country. .
             The Justice Department's newest plans for fighting terrorism were recently declared legal in a secretive appeals court on Monday, November eighteenth. Until then, very little spying on citizens was allowed in the United States. The court granted the Department of Justice power to intensify their spying efforts on American citizens and foreign nationals in the United States. Under the new act, which is known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, Department of Justice lawyers will now have a much easier time applying for warrants to spy on suspected terrorists. All he or she must do is convince the FISA court that there is a probable cause to show association with terrorist groups. It will also now be easier for the lawyers seeking warrants to pass the information they gather down to the appropriate authorities. John Ashcroft, who has been the largest proponent of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, recently said that the new act "Revolutionizes our ability to investigate terrorist acts." And that "The decision allows the Department of Justice to free immediately our agents and prosecutors in the field to work more closely and cooperatively in achieving our core mission - the mission of preventing terrorist attacks.

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