At the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, there exists a highly classified airline with a fleet of passenger aircraft that the military owns. It commenced operations in 1972 and was operated by defense contractors that played a key role in the development of nuclear weapons. The airline currently operates out of a private terminal, and the public knows very little about it. They, however, unofficially refer to it as “Janet”. This is because “Janet” is the callsign that the pilots use to identify their aircraft over air traffic radio.
On October 26th, 2001, George W. Bush signed into law The Patriot Act, which was written in the wake of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and has been obscuring the rights of American and foreign citizens ever since. The Patriot Act is a “security law” which tremendously broadened the search and surveillance powers of the United States government, allowing law enforcement to access the emails, phone calls, browsing history, and spending habits of private citizens all in the name of counter-terrorism. According to the United States government, the future possibility of danger outweighs the ongoing and present subjugation of the rights to privacy and personal autonomy.
To restrict any citizen’s freedoms requires a very good reason, and for some, the “threat of terrorism” is enough. But with this agreed idea in mind, a few things need to be at the forefront of the conversation. Is there a clear and present danger relating to terrorism which is persistent enough to warrant the restriction of rights? Is the possibility of an attack enough to warrant the restriction of rights? Does The Patriot Act work in practice? And is The Patriot Act moral in theory?