NSC-68 which was disseminated in April 1950 by the United States National Security Council and the Patriot Act which Congress passed after the terrorist attacks in September 2001

Carefully read and analyze the following documents: NSC-68 which was disseminated in April 1950 by the United States National Security Council and the Patriot Act which Congress passed after the terrorist attacks in September 2001.


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The Department of Justice’s first priority is to prevent future terrorist attacks. Since its
passage following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Patriot Act has played a key part and often the leading role – in a number of successful operations to protect innocent
Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists dedicated to destroying America and our
way of life. While the results have been important, in passing the Patriot Act, Congress
provided for only modest, incremental changes in the law. Congress simply took existing
legal principles and retrofitted them to preserve the lives and liberty of the American
people from the challenges posed by a global terrorist network.
The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty
(Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to
Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism)
Congress enacted the Patriot Act by overwhelming, bipartisan margins, arming law
enforcement with new tools to detect and prevent terrorism: The USA Patriot Act
was passed nearly unanimously by the Senate 98-1, and 357-66 in the House, with the
support of members from across the political spectrum.
The Act Improves Our Counter-Terrorism Efforts in Several Significant Ways:
1. The Patriot Act allows investigators to use the tools that were already available to
investigate organized crime and drug trafficking. Many of the tools the Act provides
to law enforcement to fight terrorism have been used for decades to fight organized crime
and drug dealers, and have been reviewed and approved by the courts. As Sen. Joe Biden
(D-DE) explained during the floor debate about the Act, “the FBI could get a wiretap to
investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorists. To put it bluntly,
that was crazy! What’s good for the mob should be good for terrorists.” (Cong. Rec.,
Allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror.
Before the Patriot Act, courts could permit law enforcement to conduct electronic
surveillance to investigate many ordinary, non-terrorism crimes, such as drug
crimes, mail fraud, and passport fraud. Agents also could obtain wiretaps to
investigate some, but not all, of the crimes that terrorists often commit. The Act
enabled investigators to gather information when looking into the full range of
terrorism-related crimes, including: chemical-weapons offenses, the use of
weapons of mass destruction, killing Americans abroad, and terrorism financing.
Allows federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorists trained to evade
detection. For years, law enforcement has been able to use “roving wiretaps” to
investigate ordinary crimes, including drug offenses and racketeering. A roving
wiretap can be authorized by a federal judge to apply to a particular suspect,
rather than a particular phone or communications device. Because international
terrorists are sophisticated and trained to thwart surveillance by rapidly changing
locations and communication devices such as cell phones, the Act authorized
agents to seek court permission to use the same techniques in national security
investigations to track terrorists.
Allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off
terrorists. In some cases if criminals are tipped off too early to an investigation,
they might flee, destroy evidence, intimidate or kill witnesses, cut off contact with
associates, or take other action to evade arrest. Therefore, federal courts in narrow
circumstances long have allowed law enforcement to delay for a limited time
when the subject is told that a judicially-approved search warrant has been
executed. Notice is always provided, but the reasonable delay gives law
enforcement time to identify the criminal’s associates, eliminate immediate threats
to our communities, and coordinate the arrests of multiple individuals without
tipping them off beforehand. These delayed notification search warrants have
been used for decades, have proven crucial in drug and organized crime cases,
and have been upheld by courts as fully constitutional.
Allows federal agents to ask a court for an order to obtain business records
in national security terrorism cases. Examining business records often provides
the key that investigators are looking for to solve a wide range of crimes.
Investigators might seek select records from hardware stores or chemical plants,
for example, to find out who bought materials to make a bomb, or bank records to
see who’s sending money to terrorists. Law enforcement authorities have always
been able to obtain business records in criminal cases through grand jury
subpoenas, and continue to do so in national security cases where appropriate.
These records were sought in criminal cases such as the investigation of the
Zodiac gunman, where police suspected the gunman was inspired by a Scottish
occult poet, and wanted to learn who had checked the poet’s books out of the
library. In national security cases where use of the grand jury process was not
appropriate, investigators previously had limited tools at their disposal to obtain
certain business records. Under the Patriot Act, the government can now ask a
federal court (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court), if needed to aid an
investigation, to order production of the same type of records available through
grand jury subpoenas. This federal court, however, can issue these orders only
after the government demonstrates the records concerned are sought for an
authorized investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning
a U.S. person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine
intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a U.S. person is not
conducted solely on the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment.
2. The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among
government agencies so that they can better “connect the dots.” The Act removed the
major legal barriers that prevented the law enforcement, intelligence, and national
defense communities from talking and coordinating their work to protect the American
people and our national security. The government’s prevention efforts should not be
restricted by boxes on an organizational chart. Now police officers, FBI agents, federal
prosecutors and intelligence officials can protect our communities by “connecting the
dots” to uncover terrorist plots before they are completed. As Sen. John Edwards (DN.C.) said about the Patriot Act, “we simply cannot prevail in the battle against terrorism
if the right hand of our government has no idea what the left hand is doing.” (Press
release, 10/26/01)
Prosecutors and investigators used information shared pursuant to section 218 in
investigating the defendants in the so-called “Virginia Jihad” case. This
prosecution involved members of the Dar al-Arqam Islamic Center, who trained
for jihad in Northern Virginia by participating in paintball and paramilitary
training, including eight individuals who traveled to terrorist training camps in
Pakistan or Afghanistan between 1999 and 2001. These individuals are associates
of a violent Islamic extremist group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), which
operates in Pakistan and Kashmir, and that has ties to the al Qaeda terrorist
network. As the result of an investigation that included the use of information
obtained through FISA, prosecutors were able to bring charges against these
individuals. Six of the defendants have pleaded guilty, and three were convicted
in March 2004 of charges including conspiracy to levy war against the United
States and conspiracy to provide material support to the Taliban. These nine
defendants received sentences ranging from a prison term of four years to life
3. The Patriot Act updated the law to reflect new technologies and new threats. The
Act brought the law up to date with current technology, so we no longer have to fight a
digital-age battle with antique weapons-legal authorities leftover from the era of rotary
telephones. When investigating the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl,
for example, law enforcement used one of the Act’s new authorities to use high-tech
means to identify and locate some of the killers.
Allows law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant anywhere a
terrorist-related activity occurred. Before the Patriot Act, law enforcement
personnel were required to obtain a search warrant in the district where they
intended to conduct a search. However, modern terrorism investigations often
span a number of districts, and officers therefore had to obtain multiple warrants
in multiple jurisdictions, creating unnecessary delays. The Act provides that
warrants can be obtained in any district in which terrorism-related activities
occurred, regardless of where they will be executed. This provision does not
change the standards governing the availability of a search warrant, but
streamlines the search-warrant process.
Allows victims of computer hacking to request law enforcement assistance in
monitoring the “trespassers” on their computers. This change made the law
technology-neutral; it placed electronic trespassers on the same footing as
physical trespassers. Now, hacking victims can seek law enforcement assistance
to combat hackers, just as burglary victims have been able to invite officers into
their homes to catch burglars.
4. The Patriot Act increased the penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes.
Americans are threatened as much by the terrorist who pays for a bomb as by the one
who pushes the button. That’s why the Patriot Act imposed tough new penalties on those
who commit and support terrorist operations, both at home and abroad. In particular, the
Prohibits the harboring of terrorists. The Act created a new offense that
prohibits knowingly harboring persons who have committed or are about to
commit a variety of terrorist offenses, such as: destruction of aircraft; use of
nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons; use of weapons of mass destruction;
bombing of government property; sabotage of nuclear facilities; and aircraft
Enhanced the inadequate maximum penalties for various crimes likely to be
committed by terrorists: including arson, destruction of energy facilities,
material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations, and destruction of
national-defense materials.
Enhanced a number of conspiracy penalties, including for arson, killings in
federal facilities, attacking communications systems, material support to
terrorists, sabotage of nuclear facilities, and interference with flight crew
members. Under previous law, many terrorism statutes did not specifically
prohibit engaging in conspiracies to commit the underlying offenses. In such
cases, the government could only bring prosecutions under the general federal
conspiracy provision, which carries a maximum penalty of only five years in
Punishes terrorist attacks on mass transit systems.
Punishes bioterrorists.
Eliminates the statutes of limitations for certain terrorism crimes and
lengthens them for other terrorist crimes.
The government’s success in preventing another catastrophic attack on the American
homeland since September 11, 2001, would have been much more difficult, if not
impossible, without the USA Patriot Act. The authorities Congress provided have
substantially enhanced our ability to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts of terror.
Carefully read and analyze the following documents: NSC-68 which was disseminated in April 1950 by
the United States National Security Council and the Patriot Act which Congress passed after the terrorist
attacks in September 2001.
Based on these two documents, and what you have learned in your HIST 1302 class, consider these
1.What is the exact challenge the United States faces, according to the primary document?
2.What were the ideological, political, and economic differences between the United States and the
Soviet Union?
3.What were the major security concerns for the United States?
4.What strategies did the United States government believe would best protect the country’s values and
national security?
5.How did the United States government intend to enlist the assistance of its citizens to ensure political,
economic, and cultural security?
6.Explain the relationship between post-war Soviet espionage and the emergence of internal security
and loyalty programs under Truman and Eisenhower.
7.The government often infringes on civil liberties in order to protect national security, is this
constitutionally sound? Why or why not
Having considered these questions, write an essay of at least 800 words that:
1.Makes a specific argument that can be supported with the specific historical evidence of these two
primary documents, as well as lecture notes and the textbook assigned to your class;
2.Analyzes the historical significance of these two primary documents;
3.Analyzes the nature of the Cold War in the 1950s;
4.Evaluates the similarities and differences between NSC-68 and the Patriot Act;
5.Is written in standard English, with all sources and quotes properly cited using MLA format;
6.Is written in your own words, not copied and pasted from other sources or web sites;
7.Is submitted through eCampus by clicking the CORE OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT link above.

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