Civil Liberties After 9/11

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Nadine Strossen, former head of the ACLU, joins us to talk about how civil liberties have changed since 9/11, from domestic surveillance, body scanners, and indefinite detention to an expansive national security establishment that remains largely hidden from view.


Nadine Strossen

Comments [12]

EVC from B'klyn

In the hours immediately after 9/11, the Bush Administration characterized the attacks as a horrendous crime, but within days, the attacks were being characterized as an act of war. Constitutionally (and politically), if 911 was a understood as a crime, it would NOT trigger the Executive’s constitutional war power; however, if it was officially seen as an act of war, the Executive’s war powers would be triggered. The assertion that the attacks were an act of war is dubious legally in that Al Qaeda is an organization, closer to an international drug cartel than a nation state, but in the immediate aftermath of the attacks few were thinking about the war versus crime distinction or the implications for civil liberties.
Once the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists was enacted on September 18, 2001, the Bush Administration was able assert legal justification for torture, warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, kidnapping (rendition), Abu Ghraib, GITMO and a roll back of civil liberties based on a claim of the Executive’s constitutional war power as Commander in Chief.
As long as the country is understood to be in a state of perpetual war with terrorists, those of us who are anguished by the assault on civil liberties will not have a solid legal argument to challenge the roll-back of civil liberties, legal protections, international treaty obligations, i.e. the Geneva Convention, and the ongoing rise of a national security state.
It is important going forward to press hard to redefine the ‘war’ on Al Qaeda as a prosecution of an international police effort by the US and all countries committed to eradicate international crime syndicates.

Sep. 09 2011 11:09 AM

@Edward - Do you remember the Total Information Awareness program that was proposed a while back?

It's usual for NSA/DOD programs which don't pass public inspection to be renamed so that they can be buried in the budget under another name.

Technically impossible? Not when you have Google & other setting up so many cloud server centers.

Sep. 08 2011 05:07 PM

Go Hazel!

Sep. 08 2011 02:17 PM
Edward from NJ

From what I could gather, NarusInsight is essentially a system to wiretap internet communications based on search criteria. There's a hug leap between that and archiving everything. I guess I shouldn't have said that it's absurd from a technical standpoint, but it is absurd from a practical standpoint. Does the NSA really want to keep every piece of email that everyone has ever received -- 90% of which would be spam?

Sep. 08 2011 02:16 PM

@ Edward

Look up NarusInsight

Sep. 08 2011 01:53 PM
Edward from NJ

Leonard seemed to say that the NSA is actively archiving *all* of our email and Strossen seemed to accept the premise. Did I misunderstand? This seems patently absurd from a technical standpoint.

Sep. 08 2011 01:45 PM
Seth from Upper West Side

I'm not sure, but I think the 19 hijackers were "young, Muslim, men from the Middle East". I could be wrong. I think I may have read that somewhere at sometime.

I never hear any SOLUTIONS offered by people like Strossen. Isn't there a way to gather info without anyone's feelings being hurt? Share your ideas with the FBI, CIA, et al. These entities are always at odds, much the like the security agencies were pre-9/11.

Sep. 08 2011 01:43 PM
Stephanie from Colorado

I am a 64 year old white woman with seven grandchildren and I am frequently given what I now call the 'granny pat'.

Sep. 08 2011 01:40 PM
dbmetzger from manhattan

US Court Considers Islamic Law Ban
A push in the US to prohibit Oklahoma judges from taking Islamic law into account will go before court the day after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Sep. 08 2011 01:31 PM
Molly from NYC

@Hazel Thanks for your thought out response. Don't give Ed a second thought.. he often weaves his anti choice rants on WNYC topics whenever he can.

Sep. 08 2011 01:18 PM

Hi Ed,

I'm going to guess that the reason this "study" (wasn't really a study btw, it was an "analysis of 22 separate studies and 36 measures of effect" on women who have had abortions) is because it's essentially meaningless. Priscilla Coleman, the writer of the article is not a creditable expert. Her wikipedia page states: "The statistical methods Coleman and her co-authors use have been criticized by the American Psychological Association (APA)". Also, "Some other researchers have been unable to reproduce Coleman's results on abortion and mental health despite using the same dataset,[4] and have described her findings as "logically inconsistent" and potentially "substantially inflated" by faulty methodology." Here's what Dr. Brenda Major, who has a Ph.D in Social Psychology from Purdue University and is a professor and researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of California in Santa Barbara has to say:

"The most plausible explanation for the observed association between abortion and mental health problems, according to Major, "is that it is spurious: it reflects unmeasured differences that existed before the target pregnancy between the women in the delivery and the abortion samples." In other words, the life circumstances of women who continue a pregnancy probably differ significantly from those of women who abort a pregnancy, and this can impact mental health. Abortion providers and clinics are everyday witnesses to the fact that women who seek abortions are, on average, more likely to be younger, single, have relationship problems, suffer from health problems, have drug or alcohol abuse problems, or be going through a difficult or dysfunctional time in their lives, compared to women who carry to term. For example, pregnant women in abusive relationships are more likely to have an abortion than pregnant women who are happily married. It's reasonable to infer that the former are also more likely to seek psychiatric help—but the reasons probably relate to their abusive relationship, not the abortion."

If you'd like to take a look here is the link:

But I respect your opinion and suggest you shouldn't put yourself in a situation where you'll ever to have to be in the position of having to consider having an abortion. What's right for you is what's right for you - not necessarily me.

Sep. 08 2011 12:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

We still have the civil liberty to kill unborn children, this we should not have.

Also see:
LONDON, UK, September 1, 2011 ( - A new study published
today in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that women who
underwent an
abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems.
study also found that almost 10% of all women’s mental health problems
directly linked to abortion.

Sep. 08 2011 08:39 AM

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