U.S. Domestic Surveillance
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, Congress passed sweeping legislation to bolster U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Some of the most controversial measures, including the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, significantly enhanced the federal government’s ability to collect and analyze private information related to U.S. citizens. Proponents argue that the broader surveillance authorities are required to uncover and neutralize terrorism plots, while critics say the expanded powers infringe on civil liberties.
In 2005, the Bush administration came under fire from Democrats and activist groups after press reports disclosed the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program. In 2013, the Obama administration similarly attracted criticism from watchdog groups upon leaks related to its far-reaching domestic surveillance activities under the NSA. The episode has revived debate over privacy and national security and raised calls for reform.
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