Introduction years after the attacks, and billions of

IntroductionIn the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress struggled to findthe “smoking gun” of failures that enabled 19 terrorists to crash the World TradeCenter, the economy, and the intelligence community.

Without clear answers, andwith added pressures from voters, Democrats and Republicans worked together tointroduce an arsenal of military campaigns, new legislation, executive departments,bureaucratic positions, and immigration policies to quell public outcry for security.With the initial passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, many felt complacent withtheir government’s actions. However, as the revelations from Edward Snowdensurfaced, the debate between national security and individual liberty revived.16 years after the attacks, and billions of dollars later, the justice systemis just the most recent victim of the War on Terror. National SecurityLettersEnacted quickly after the 9/11attacks, the USA PATRIOT Act promised to expand Law Enforcement’s ability toidentify potential terrorists within the US.

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The Act increased the scope ofNational Security Letters NSLs–domestic subpoenas issued in secrecy by the FBIto obtain a variety of information, such as internet history, phone records,and credit reports. According to Hannah Bloch-Wehba, a Clinical Lecturer in Lawat Yale University and notorious defender of individual liberties, “using anNSL, the FBI can—without judicial oversight or a court order—demand that acompany produce certain categories of information about a user, and that itremain silent about that demand, as long as the agency certifies that therecords are relevant to an authorized investigation of international terrorism”(Bloch-Wehba). Proving highly controversial, the FBI can issue a NSL withoutnotifying the citizen or by getting a warrant from a judge, the traditional waysubpoenas are produced, leading to potential abuse of power by the FBI. TheAmerican Civil Liberties Union has argued that these letters oppose constitutionalrights to privacy, but the courts upheld secretive use of NSLs in the case Doe v. Holder (ACLU). According to theNew York University Law Review, “This lack of judicial oversight and theinability to disclose receipt of an NSL provide little guarantee that the FBIis in fact seeking information ‘relevant to an authorized investigation'”(Garlinger 11). Without public or judicial accountability, it is nearimpossible to know how these government agencies are treating American data andrights.

Indeed, even many members of the government are oblivious to thepervasive use of NSLs. In a report by the Inspector General, the officeresponsible for investigating the FBI and reporting results back to Congress,it was stated that in a random sample of 77 cases that used NSLs, 31 were notrecorded (32). With misleading figures produced by the investigation, it becamedifficult for congress to perform their constitutional oversight duties on theFBI, as the numbers produced are likely highly conservative. The report releasedthat the FBI issued 192,499 National Security Letters from 2003 to 2005 (36),leading to 1 confirmed terror conviction (64). While this process might seemgrossly ineffective with only 1 conviction (and likely more undocumented NSLsused), the Inspector General also confirmed that National Security Letters wereable to identify money laundering, check financial ties for terrorist organizations,check ties to extremists, and identify jihadists (64). Even though these convictions mightnot be directly related to terror, they do suggest that NSLs can be effectiveat detecting a wide range of terror related activities, and can potentially breachcritical financial ties to terrorist organizations.

While diversified, NSLsgive new, broadly unchecked powers to the FBI and prosecutors – at the expenseof American liberties and privacy.     Terrorist PrisonSystem            Once convicted of terrorism, inmates are sent tospecial prisons at the discretion of the Federal Bureau of Prisons BOP. Accordingto the Director of the BOP, Harley Lappin, “the international terrorists aredivided into categories… our more higher concerned leadership, those that havethe most influence, are managed in a very restrictive, controlledenvironment–at ADX Florence tier 1 … then you have got a second tier wherewe do not have to have them as restricted, but we want to control theircommunications. They are housed in communication management units” (Lappin 21).The main concern for BOP is radicalization among inmates. Since the majority ofinmates in the nation’s prisons will, eventually, be released into society, thethreat of convicted terrorists recruiting other inmates into terroristorganizations must be mitigated. BOP’s response to these problems are isolatingconvicted terrorists in high security prisons, and limiting each inmate’srights.

Each of these prisons have significantly heightened security and lowerquality of life for their inmates. Both of the aforementioned tiers areexamined below. Tier 1: ADX FlorenceTheADX Florence is the highest security prison in the country – the end of theline for high risk inmates, including terrorists, thwarted escapers, andextremists. In a study consisting of direct interviews and letters with inmates,the Prison Journal published that theADX Florence employs brutal tactics including “four-point spread-eaglerestraints, forced feedings, cell extractions, mind-control medications, andchemical weapons used to incapacitate prisoners” (Richards 16). Even withobvious encroachments on constitutional protections, and basic human rights thegovernment goes to great lengths to oppress each prisoner. At the ADX Florence,each of the communications discussed in tier 2 are implemented.  Tier 2: Communications ManagementUnitsAt2 locations within the United States, tier 2 terrorists are treated similar toregular inmates, except communication between inmates and the rest of the worldare limited and intensely monitored by the FBI. According to the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, prisonersat these units can “may make only two fifteen-minute telephone calls per weekand may only receive two visits per month—far less contact with the outsideworld than BOP permits for virtually all other federal prisoners” (Shapiro 5).

Oftendescribed as the “bright spot” in prison, phone calls are essential to themental health of the prisoners – which the government cares minisculely. Accordingto the FBI’s own CMU operations, “regular visiting may be limited to immediatefamily members… limited to four one-hour visits each calendar month” (Samuels11), while their counterparts in regular prisons can receive up to “35 hoursper month” (Shapiro 22). The BOP goes farther than just limiting prisonervisitation. Inmates can only read preapproved books by the FBI (Shapiro 2).Phone calls are routinely monitored, and limited to 15 minutes 3 times a month,while their counterparts are offered 300 minutes (Samuels 10).

Evenconversations with inmates’ lawyers can be intercepted by agents (Columbia 2).These prisons send a clear message to the rest of the country: constitutionalrights do not apply to terror convicts.  Conclusion            As an overarching trend, the post9/11 terror reform has led to the exchange of personal liberties for nationalsecurity in our justice system.

In the FBI, constitutional search protectionsare waved to identify potential terrorists. In the prisons, convicted terroristsserve their sentences disenfranchised of their “unalienable rights…to Life,Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (DOI) that America was founded upon. PerhapsAl Franken encapsulated the complexity: “The government must give proper weightto both keeping America safe from terrorists and protecting Americans’ privacy.But when Americans lack the most basic information about our domesticsurveillance programs, they have no way of knowing whether we’re getting thatbalance right. This lack of transparency is a big problem”. National securitycomes at the expense of individual rights, and it’s the role of democracy to compromise.Works CitedBloch-Wehba, Hannah. “NewDisclosures Reflect NSLs’ Substantive First Amendment Flaws.

” Yale Law School, Just Security, 19 Dec.2016.Butterfield, Jeanne A.

“BrokenFences: Legal and Practical Realities of Immigration Reform in the Post-9/11Age.” University of Maryland LawJournal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class, vol. 5, no. 2, Sept. 2005,pp. 187-200.”Doev.

Holder.” American Civil LibertiesUnion, 17 Nov. 2009.General, US Inspector. “A Review OfThe Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s Use Of National Security Letters.” Office of the Inspector General, Mar.

2007.Perkinson, Robert. “ShackledJustice: Florence Federal Penitentiary and the New Politics of Punishment.” Social Justice, vol. 21, no. 3 (57),1994, pp. 117–132.

Richards, Stephen C. “USP MarionThe First Federal Supermax.” The PrisonJournal, vol.

88, no. 1, Mar. 2008, pp. 1–18.

,doi:10.1177/0032885507310529.Samuels, Charles E. “CommunicationsManagement Units – Program Statement.

” FederalBureau of Prisons, U.S. Department of Justice, 1 Apr. 2015.Shapiro, David M. “How TerrorTransformed Federal Prison: Communication Management Units.” Columbia Human Rights Law Review, vol. 44,no.

1, Fall2012, pp. 47-91.United States, Congress, Cong.House, Committee On The Judiciary, and Harley Lappin. “Federal Bureau ofPrisons Oversight.

” Federal Bureau of Prisons Oversight, 21 July 2009. 111thCongress, 1st session, document 111-89. 


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