Protective Measures after 9/11 and their Effects on American Citizens

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Protective Measures after 9/11 and Their Effects on American Citizens

        Prior to the attack, the United States had only a few regulations against terrorism in the country. The United States was forced to tighten any area suspected of harmful penetration after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The situation of higher protective measures leads to the enforcement of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Homeland Security Department, Transportation security act, Foreign intelligence surveillance act, Material support laws, which have become the major helpful laws and regulations passed as a result of 911 terrorist attack.

     The terrorist attack on September 11, 2000, influenced the entire world, but mostly on the future of immigration laws and security. In 2002 after the attacks, Congress legislated the department of homeland and security act with the primary vision to maintain domestic refuge within the U.S. and ensure border safety and security. By protecting Americans affected by natural disasters and responding to terrorist attacks upon the United States (ABC-CLIO, 2018) the homeland security act has greatly increased the sense of security among Americans.

      Despite these achievements, the department of homeland security has resulted in massive amounts of deportation which has led to the separation of families. Another role of the DHS is maintaining security on digital platforms. As much as these security measures have been able to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S, Americans have less and less privacy while using the internet which questions the main purpose of these protective measures.

     On October 26, 2001, the Congress passed the USA PATRIOT ACT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) (ABC-CLIO, 2018) as a response to the 9/11 attack. The patriot act gives intelligence officials and federal law enforcement the means to defeat terrorist attacks upon the United States. The enactment of the patriot act has infringed upon the 14th amendment in the constitution which states that people are "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures..., and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause. ..." by conducting searches on its citizens and foreign nationals without being informed and aren't under a criminal investigation.

     In addition to the department of homeland security and patriot act, the Congress enacted the Transportation security act of 2002 (TSA) to prevent future attacks on the united states by regulating the transport systems. Before the enactment of the act, the United State transport system was vulnerable to breaches in the security and may serve as a target for terrorist attacks aimed at the united states. So far, Congress has been able to combat these issues with the creation of TSA. The aviation and transportation security act have enforced mandatory screening and increased hand searching. Since the implementation of TSA, there have been numerous complaints of invasion of privacy and racial profiling which is an act of discrimination and violation of an individual's right.

     Equally important as the other acts are the foreign intelligence surveillance act (FISA), amended in 2001 and states the procedures required to obtain information both physically and internationally from foreign acts. The united states government approved the use of electronic surveillance, physical search and investigations of any form to gain foreign intelligence. The basis of FISA are arguably unconstitutional, specifically violating the fourth amendment  which states that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." To be a target of an investigation, the government must provide probable cause to believe that a search is justified.

     Finally, the material support laws which prohibits individuals or organisations from providing material support from a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons (including chemical, biological, or radiological weapons), explosives, to training (ABC-CLIO, 2018) The ruling of this law has prevented the efforts of human right organizations who must interact directly with these groups in order to combat violence and promote peace and freedom. For terrorist groups to become completely eradicated human rights organizations must directly influence the views of these terrorist group to cease their rights-violating practices, explaining to the perpetrators their obligations under human rights and humanitarian law (Holder, 2018). The material law has violated their first amendment right to freedom of association.  The goals of these human right organization are not to encourage terrorism but to end it lawfully

     In the final analysis, these laws and protection put into place after the 9/11 attack to protect the liberties of American citizens has greatly conflicted with the first, fourth, and fourteenth amendment of Americans. There are still questions on whether these acts and reforms have fully eradicated future attacks on the united states.


  1. September 11, 2001. The U.S. Responds. (ABC-CLIO, 2018). [Video]. Retrieved from
  2. Department of Homeland Security. (ABC-CLIO, 2018). In American History. Retrieved from
  3. USA Patriot Act (2001). (ABC-CLIO, 2018). In American History. Retrieved from
  4. Holder, E. H. (2018). Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project - Amicus Brief of the Carter Center et al. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from
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Protective Measures after 9/11 and Their Effects on American Citizens. (2019, Aug 15). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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