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National Security Crimes and Investigations
We now move into national security crimes. The crime of treason was created in the U.S. Constitution and the charge is still utilized today against U.S. citizens like Jose Padilla. As a result of the need for better security against homeland threats, Congress passed the Uniting and Strengthening America Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, (the "USA PATRIOT Act") just six weeks after the attack at the World Trade Center. Many new crimes were created by the USA PATRIOT Act. Included are some great topics for discussion, research, reading and debate. We begin with a discussion of the difference between normal criminal actions and national security crimes and how the courts treat that difference.
We wrap up with a discussion of national and homeland security/defense investigations under FISA and its secret courts used for cases of national security and search warrants. This is a fitting end to the module as heated discussions can be had over the extent to which civil liberties should be abridged in the name of homeland defense. One commentator has put it this way: "One tries and punishes criminals; a nation at war kills and incapacitates its enemies." In the narrower context of homeland defense, the curtailment of civil liberaties is greatly affected by this difference in orientation. You will read comments from Abraham Lincoln to Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The latter said, "In time of war the government's authority to restrict civil liberty is greater than in peacetime." Remember that is coming from the chief judge in the country.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit the student will be able to:
  1. Discuss the difference in approach between the prosecution of normal crimes versus national security crimes, to include how President Bush chose to conduct a war against terrorism rather than pursuing cases in the standard criminal justice system.
  2. Apply the lessons learned to the case of Padilla v. Bush and discuss how the court decides whether to allow suspected enemy combatants to be characterized as criminals or terrorists.
  3. Explain the unique historical requirements of treason and why the government often chooses not to prove treason but seditious conspiracy instead.
  4. Identify the crime of international terrorism and how it relates to homeland defense.
  5. Identify the new crimes and enhanced penalties created under the USA PATRIOT Act.
  6. Discuss how the USA PATRIOT Act has provisions which deal with border control and immigration, including the fingerprinting of incoming aliens, monitoring of student visas, and expanding the grounds for excluding and deporting aliens.
  7. Discuss how national security considerations impact surveillance and searches.
  8. Describe the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and how it has been applied to roving wiretaps.
Section Contents
  1. National Security Crimes
  2. Crimes Created Under the USA PATRIOT Act
  3. Investigations and Searches Under FISA