There is a fine line to be walked when we make the distinction between domestic citizens engaged in social protest and domestic terrorist. While we may feel no remorse for using any means possible to gather the information necessary to prevent another 9/11, there is greater reluctance to allow the wholesale inspection of our communications in an effort to quell social or political dissent. The social forces of political influence, excessive abuse of constitutional rights, and the invasion of privacy become heated public issues as individual liberties are sacrificed for the protection of the greater collective. Curran warned the people that we must be on constant guard against those that would prey on our failure to remain vigilant. Yet, who are the greater perpetrators of the transgressions to our freedom Do the domestic terrorists who incite violent acts against domestic corporations, citizens, and local governments harbor a bigger threat to our way of life than our own government Indeed, in these extreme times, compromises must be made that balance our right to liberty against our right to public safety. This paper will examine the powers of recent legislation, the extent of domestic surveillance, its effect on our constitutional rights, and its impact on domestic social policy.
This paper will confine the discussion of surveillance as i...
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), domestic terrorism is defined as, "... the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States (or its territories) without foreign direction, committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (Jarboe, 2002). In general, domestic terrorism is confined to environmental activists, social issues such as abortion or globalization, political protest, and nationalist or separatist movements. It is important to note that it does not include US citizens who are acting on behalf of a foreign government or group. In addition, it must fit the definition of terrorism and exceed the standard for criminal activity.
Typically the perpetrators of domestic terrorism have been pro-life groups, eco-terrorists, and animal rights activists, but may also include anti-war protestors or ideological extremists. These are US citizens operating within its borders to bring attention to, and effect, a social or political agenda. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU), "Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island and WTO protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front have all recently engaged in activities that could subject them to being investigated as engaging in domestic terrorism" (How the USA Patriot Act redefines, 2002). When a violent act is committed, the motivation for the act, or the connection to a group, differentiates it from criminal activity, and places it into the category of terrorism. This redefinition of terrorism