News / USA

Post 9/11, Americans Seek to Balance Security, Civil Rights

Mike O'Sullivan

America's collective sense of security changed dramatically after terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Many Americans now feel vulnerable, not only to more attacks, but to new measures meant to prevent terrorism.

Airport security

Travelers in the United States have faced heightened security at airports for the past 10 years.

Some measures still stir controversy, but for traveler Bob Dubois, they are necessary.

"I think it's something that we need in this day and economy as it is right now with what's going on," Dubois said. "You never know what's going to happen and the people that are out there, and I think that we need to do this."

Oscar Del Castillo agrees the new measures are needed.

"A few procedures, I'm not entirely pleased with, such as the full-body scans," he says. "However, I understand their importance."

Transportation Security Administration worker Shane Quintard , right, examines an unidentified passenger's items at a security checkpoint at Boston Logan International Airport (AP file photo)
AP photo

Profiling


Ameena Mirza Qazi, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, complains that the heightened procedures target observant Muslims.

"When I travel, I get pulled over almost every single time I go through security for extra pat-downs because of my head scarf," she says.

Although transportation security officials say they do not specifically target Muslims, many Muslims say they suffer discrimination.  Last year, a mosque near San Diego faced neighborhood protests over its plans to expand.

Civil rights advocates sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year for allegedly using informants to monitor Muslims.  FBI officials would not comment, but they say they take action only when they suspect criminal behavior and that agents operate under strict guidelines.

Ahilan Arulanantham of the American Civil Liberties Union says those guidelines are too broad and intrusive. He says the nation's founding fathers lived in a time of turmoil after the revolutionary war and intended that basic rights enshrined in the constitution be sacrosanct.

"And the rules that they created were designed to protect us and strike that balance even during that time," Arulanantham explains.

Real threat

Steven Martinez of the FBI's Los Angeles office says the United States remains committed to an open society, but the risk of terrorism is real.

"If we want to maintain that sense of freedom, we’re always going to have vulnerabilities in places where people gather - theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls," notes Martinez. "Those present opportunities for our adversaries and those are very, very difficult to secure."

Security expert Erroll Southers of the University of Southern California says Americans need to face, and manage, the new risks.

"The same as they're told about the challenges we have with earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes," Southers says. "This is a disaster of a man-enabled paradigm, so we should be educating them on what the real threats are. And then second, we should make sure they understand how they can help."

Southers says tips from the public are crucial in stopping terrorists, but effective security measures still must respect the rights of Americans. Finding the right balance is the hard part.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid