9/11...a Turning Point

9/11…A Turning Point
There have been many turning points in American history; however none have had the same effects as September 11, 2001, and many people relate the day to the country’s loss of innocence. As a result of 9/11 many civil liberties were taken away, security was heightened, and there have been numerous effects on Americans. Although the attack happened on American soil, it can really be characterized as an attack on civilization itself, because people from more than 80 nationalities perished on that day (Hitchens).

An American’s civil liberties are among some of the most important rights awarded to a citizen. After 9/11 some of those liberties were taken away by the expansion of executive power, the National Security Administration or NSA’s domestic surveillance program, and the use of “national security letters” to force information from citizens. Research conducted by Benjamin A. Kleinerman concludes that there are three criteria that must be met in order for a president to expand his executive power. First, it must be justified, or pass the “necessity test”, which means public good is insufficient grounds for discretionary power because “only political necessity and not popular or congressional approval can legitimate any discretionary action taken by a president.” This is to keep constitutional order in-tact (Rajaee). Second, Kleinerman states, “Discretionary action should only take place in extraordinary circumstances and should be understood as extraordinary.” A president should be able to justify their behavior in terms of their constitutional responsibility, which would require a restoration of “the notion of executive prerogative to the sphere of public discourse” (Rajaee). Third, “A line must separate the executive’s personal feeling and his official duty. He should take only those actions that fulfill his official duty and the preservation of the constitution, even…if the people want him to go further.” The Patriot Act for example,...

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Backgrounder – Nuclear Security. nrc.gov. N.p. 2008. Web. 22 Sep. 2010.
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Proposal to Create the Department of Homeland Security. dhs.gov. n.d. Web. 22 Sep. 2010.
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