All Eyes On You


On September 11th, 2001 19 militants from an islamic extremist group called al-Qaeda hijacked four different airliners for a suicide attack against the United States. This attack killed about 3,000 people, 400 amongst those people were police officers and firefighters. “Two out of the four planes flew right into the tower of the World Trade center in New York City, another plane flew into the pentagon outside of Washington D.C. and the last one crashed into a field in Philadelphia.” People still to this day have had some sort of impact from this tragic day.

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Because of the similar terrorist attacks the U.S Congress came up with The Foreign Intelligence Act also known as FISA was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 25th, 1978. This act also came up with the Patriot Act which was made in response to 9/11. It gives groups like the FBI and CIA authorization for secret surveillance on people who they suspect are acting as agents from foreign powers on United States land. A lot of these agent are believed to be connected to overseas intelligence services or even terrorist organizations. There have been a little over 1,700 approved applications with zero denied and only a withdraw of one. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is very effective, it seeks for permission to authorize surveillance on people with probable evidence, however it can interfere with the invasion of privacy for others.


When the applications are brought to the United States District Courthouse, the Judiciary appoints 11 district judges to the hearing. With good or credible evidence the judge decides whether or not the request should be accepted. The warrant application for the domestic surveillance is brought to court for review. If a request is denied (which rarely happens) it CANNOT be brought to any other court for review. But, if there is either more evidence or the request is modified then it may be reviewed again under those circumstances. This would give the government permission to access cameras around someone’s home, their emails, gives them authority to plant bugs in their homes, tap their phone, put a GPS on their car and even record the key patterns of someone’s keyboard.  

Years after the FISA was made in retaliation to 9/11 the Patriot Act was made which is an amendment made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was known as an anti terrorism act written by the U.S Congress at the request of George W. Bush. People became very concerned after the 9/11 attack so it was made right after was officially signed on October 26th, 2001 by George W. Bush. This act allows law enforcement to use surveillance to prevent more crimes of terror, conduct investigations without tipping terrorists, and allows federal agents to ask for a court order to retrieve business records from security terrorism cases.


Pros: This act is very effective and has many pros to it. It improves protection and it’s help better the results of terrorist attacks prevented. About 395 convictions of terrorism were made, those convictions alone saved thousands of lives in the US and prevented all kind of trauma behind it. This act also provides financial support to those who has fell victim to terrorist attacks. It’s also known to have helped with housing as well and many other support services.


Cons: Even though FISA is very effective there is a slight problem with this, it invades the privacy of others. What if the person is falsely accused? That would mean that the FBI or CIA where in the wrong and was in someone’s personal space when they had no reason to because the person is innocent. In a way, it violates the United State’s 4th amendment. Phones are allowed to be tapped under this act and records could be pulled up under this act as well. A lot of people demand that there be some sort of line drawn so that people still have some form of privacy. People also fear that this much power with domestic surveillance could be misused and not in the favor of innocent citizens.


Due to the 9/11 attack former president George W. Bush came up with the Patriot Act to protect US citizens. Looking through and researching the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act this act along with the Patriot Act is very effective. It helps protect the US citizens from the many dangers of foreign countries that could potentially end up harming us in the long run. After the documents Edward Snowden leaked President Obama defended the NSA by saying that there has been about 50 threats prevented because of the surveillance and involvement of the government. But, even though these acts have been very helpful the only thing I have against it is the fact that it invades the privacy of others. People should have a right to their privacy and invading it is violating the 4th amendment.

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