14
Sep
2004

Did civil liberties fall with the Twin Towers?

Ramifications of the Patriot Act still being argued

The worst terrorist strike on American soil in the nation's history also triggered wide-ranging changes to citizens' civil liberties in ways that, three years later, remain the subject of keen debate. In a report issued this week, on the eve of the third anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the national organization Human Rights First said some steps taken by the government were "sensible and appropriate" while others represent a "disturbing erosion" of civil liberties. "Perhaps the most disturbing change (during the past three years) has been the suggestion by some senior government officials that it is unpatriotic to challenge the administration's approach to national security," the report said. Cathryn Hazouri, executive director of the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union, said, "I do think that since 9/11, Americans have lost a lot of privacy. And they have lost a lot of the liberties that make us different from all the other countries in the world."

But U.S. Attorney John Suthers, whose first day in office was one week before the Sept. 11 attacks, believes the government has been measured in its response and that steps that have been taken - most notably the Patriot Act - haven't compromised civil liberties.

http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_3174225,00.html


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