An internal investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that the FBI has been impeding citizen’s rights to security. ‘National security letters,’ or letters issued to obtain personal and business information are believed to have been misused in scores of cases. Problems range from improper release of these letters and incorrect citing to obtaining information beyond what is authorized. This hotly debated scandal stems from a clear violation of the fourth amendment.
While many people would feel debased by an illegally ran investigation into their personal lives, this scandal may not be as corrupt as some politicians are saying; over 90% of the letters are used in direct attempt to halt suspected terrorism. Citizens do not want civil liberties to be taken away, but a fine line between right and wrong on this situation does not exist. It is obvious that these illegal searches are not altogether just, but one must look at the possible overall impact created had these investigations not been done. It is possible that one of these unjust letter authorizations has spared our nation innumerable damage.
This situation may sound familiar; it is similar to the one happening on the very popular action drama ‘24.’ The television audience is enduring something much more intense (several nuclear bombs already going off, as opposed to a threat of terrorism), but both circumstances raise the same questions. An ongoing debate about enabling a new act poses a question for the president, at what point can civilians’ rights be taken away? As mentioned before, this position may be much more concentrated, although the same trade-off is involved.
It is easier to judge within the midst of terrorism, but crossing the lines of personal security remains a hotly debated topic. In this certain instance, the institution of personal liberty rose above, as indicated by the statements of both President Bush and FBI director Robert Mueller. President Bush first promised justice for these inconveniences, while Mueller was apologetic. “I am the person responsible, I am the person accountable, and I am committed to ensuring that we correct these deficiencies and live up to these responsibilities.” While it is not definite as to whether this type of personal security breach will stop, it is definite that our people’s civil liberties will continually be put to the test.