Legal and Ethical Issues in Homeland Security

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When discussing homeland security law and policy I must mention the turning point for our country – September 11th. You likely remember where you were that day and what you were doing. I was planning a trip to New York and was scheduled to leave on the 14th. The immediate response after 9/11 was to ground flights and therefore my trip was postponed until the end of the month. Policy changes were evident immediately and have evolved since September 11th based on threats, attempts, and intelligence. For my trip to New York at the end of September of 2001, the requirement was to be at the airport three hours early. I actually missed my return flight because I did not arrive at the airport until two hours prior to the flight. Changes in the airport were just the beginning as we will discuss this term.

Now turn your attention to chapter 7. This chapter discusses the National Security Strategy of the United States of America and begins by stating, ‘The strategy emphasizes America’s support for democracy as a means of ending tyranny, because, it states, democratic regimes are the most stable and will provide the most security for the United States.’ Let us overlook the term stable for now as I am sure many of you do not feel that way with the economy as it is right now. It is not surprising that democracy is included in the National Security Strategy as it is a key principle in which our country was founded. But, what does democracy mean?

There is actually little agreement on the definition of democracy (Ranney & Kendall, 1951). This is not totally unexpected as people vary on their beliefs and what would seem as a logical definition for one person might be very different for another. Take terrorism for example. Most Americans would agree that September 11th was an act of terrorism and while we may not want to acknowledge another perspective, those supporting jihad see it in a very different light.

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