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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid