Domestic surveillance successfully checks terror incidents now. Prefer longitudinal studies

Download 1.16 Mb.
Size1.16 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   23


ratchet effect

With each new attack, more invasive security measures are created. Disad turns the case.

Balko 14 – Radley Balko, senior writer and investigative reporter at the Huffington Post, graduate of Indiana University, and policy analyst at the Cato Institute, 2014 ( “Was the police response to the Boston bombing really appropriate?,” Washington Post, April 22nd , Available Online at , Accessed June 17th 2015, J.L.)

The economist and historian Robert Higgs has written prolifically over the years about what he calls the “ratchet effect.” In times of crisis, governments tend to expand, usually at the expense of civil liberties. When the crisis abates, government power does, too, but never completely back to where it was before. With each subsequent crisis, government encroaches a bit more. Higgs has documented the effect through major wars, depressions and other national emergencies. But the effect may be particularly pronounced and dangerous with respect to the war on terror, because as crises go, terrorism can never completely be defeated. We’re now more than a year out from the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. The studies, reviews, and after-action reports have been written. Politicians and other public officials have held hearings, cast blame and pontificated on the lessons they have learned. There have been calls for more monitoring of foreign travelers; better information-sharing among federal, state and local government police agencies; and the inevitable demands for more security, more surveillance and generally more government power to prevent similar attacks in the future. We instinctively put our faith in government to protect us in times of crisis, even when those crises are the result of the government’s failure to protect us. We regret it later. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Gallup polling found that 47 percent of the public was willing to sacrifice its civil liberties for security. Within two years, that figure was down to 33 percent, and by 2012, it was at 25 percent. Those figures show why it’s dangerous to pass new policies when the public is fearful and emotional, and why politicians are particularly eager to do exactly that. (See the Patriot Act.) The danger here is that the Boston response tightens the ratchet and becomes the default response to similar crises in the future. For example, we’ve already seen other examples of wanton, indiscriminate gunfire from cops during manhunts for fugitives suspected of killing cops,

Plan rollback – interest groups favored by changes preserve the status quo.

Bainbridge 13 – Stephen Bainbridge, Joseph Flom Visiting Professor of Law and Business at Harvard law School and author of The New Corporate Governance in Theory and Practice, 2013 (“The Global Ware on Terror & the Ratchet Effect,” Stephen Bainbridge's Journal of Law, Politics, and Culture, May 27th, Available online at http://www.professorbainbridge.c om/professorbainbridgecom/2013/05/the-global-ware-on-terror-and-the-ratchet-effect.html, accessed 6/19/15, J.L.)

Robert Higgs demonstrated that wars and other major crises typically trigger a dramatic growth in the size of government, accompanied by higher taxes, greater regulation, and loss of civil liberties. Once the crisis ends, government may shrink somewhat in size and power, but rarely back to pre-crisis levels. Just as a ratchet wrench works only in one direction, the size and scope of government tends to move in only one direction—upwardsbecause the interest groups that favored the changes now have an incentive to preserve the new status quo, as do the bureaucrats who gained new powers and prestige. Hence, each crisis has the effect of ratcheting up the long-term size and scope of government. There's a slew of domestic restrictions on our liberties that came into place after 9/11. The TSA's security theater apparatus at airports is just the most noticeable. As Jonathan Turley has noted: For civil libertarians, the legacy of bin Laden is most troubling because it shows how the greatest injuries from terror are often self-inflicted. Bin Laden's twisted notion of success was not the bringing down of two buildings in New York or the partial destruction of the Pentagon. It was how the response to those attacks by the United States resulted in our abandonment of core principles and values in the "war on terror." Many of the most lasting impacts of this ill-defined war were felt domestically, not internationally. Starting with George W. Bush, the 9/11 attacks were used to justify the creation of a massive counterterrorism system with growing personnel and budgets designed to find terrorists in the heartland. Laws were rewritten to prevent citizens from challenging searches and expanding surveillance of citizens. Leaders from both parties acquiesced as the Bush administration launched programs of warrantless surveillance, sweeping arrests of Muslim citizens and the creation of a torture program. What has been most chilling is that the elimination of Saddam and now bin Laden has little impact on this system, which seems to continue like a perpetual motion machine of surveillance and searches.

Disad turns the case – effective anti-terror laws now mean obstacles to reversing.

Givens 13 – Austen D. Givens, a PhD student in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London, 2013 (“The NSA Surveillance Controversy, How the Ratchet Effect can Impact Anti-Terrorism Laws,” Harvard Law School National Security Journal, July 2nd, available online at, accessed 6/19/15, J.L.)

*note: short reading, long reading*

The list of causes below is not meant to be exhaustive, but to show how a constellation of variables can help to cement anti-terrorism laws in place. The ratchet effect can occur because: anti-terrorism laws are effective. Anti-terrorism laws may stick simply because they work. If so, then scaling back or reversing an effective anti-terrorism law would increase a nation’s vulnerability to terrorism, pulling it back toward a condition that existed before the law initially went into effect. This goes against national security interests, so it makes sense to leave these laws on the books. The ratchet effect can occur because anti-terrorism laws may address multiple threats. Anti-terrorism laws may come about because of a particular terrorist group or incident. But that does not necessarily mean the laws will work only for that group, or apply only to similar types of terrorist attacks. Al-Qaeda’s attack on 9/11 spurred the creation of the USA PATRIOT Act. Yet today the Act’s provisions can also impede domestic terrorist organizations like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) by facilitating intelligence sharing for law enforcement purposes. The ratchet effect can occur because it is challenging to repeal laws in democracies. Absent “sunset” provisions, which force certain portions of a law to expire after a pre-determined amount of time, it can be difficult to repeal a law under normal circumstances—let alone when that law concerns something as serious as terrorism. It requires careful political maneuvering to reverse an anti-terrorism law because the law itself may enjoy popular support, be seen as effective, or be linked to vested economic interests. These obstacles can promote a legal inertia that resists efforts to scale back or reverse the law. The ratchet effect can occur because elected officials do not want to risk repealing anti-terrorism laws. Here is a political nightmare: for whatever reason, a legislator or government executive spearheads an effort to reverse an anti-terrorism law. The anti-terrorism law is repealed. Within a week, a terrorist attack occurs. Being wrong about terrorism can carry devastating political consequences for incumbents. But being specifically identified as the one who “turned off the alarm system” is a political death sentence. Under this scenario, even if there is no direct causal link between the law’s repeal and the attack, the two are easily correlated because of their temporal proximity to each other. It makes no sense for an elected official to open herself to the possibility of this scenario without a clear, compelling reason—and, even then, scaling back an anti-terrorism law may still be too politically risky a proposition to entertain seriously. For these reasons, anti-terrorism laws can remain in effect beyond the end of the crisis that brought them into existence. The ratchet effect can occur because there is increased public deference to government during crises. Legal scholars and political scientists have explored the effect of terrorism on public deference to democratic governments.[10] While the specific reasons for this vary, the research overwhelmingly points toward increased trust in government authorities in the immediate wake of terrorist attacks, though this can wane over time. Popular support can provide the political capital necessary for legislators and executives to quickly craft and implement anti-terrorism laws. Over time, despite some slippage, public approval of these laws can continue—particularly when the crisis that prompted the laws’ creation continues. The ratchet effect can occur because anti-terrorism laws create a new security paradigm. An aggressive anti-terrorism law can fundamentally alter societal approaches to terrorism. Surveillance may increase. Police powers can expand. Intelligence efforts may grow. Public expectations of privacy can diminish. In the aggregate, these types of changes can represent a drastic change in a government’s approach to terrorism, and effectively create a “new normal” level of security. Because this “new normal” is linked to the law itself, reversing the law begins to dismantle the new security paradigm. From the public’s perspective, this might be an unacceptable option because it may increase societal vulnerability to terrorism. Government agencies also risk losing resources—personnel, money, and political support—by returning to the status quo ante.


( ) Psychoanalytic studies confirm our rollback args. It overcomes durable fiat.

Givens ‘13

Austen D. Givens is a PhD student in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. His forthcoming book with Nathan E. Busch, The Business of Counterterrorism: Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security, will be published by Peter Lang. “The NSA Surveillance Controversy: How the Ratchet Effect Can Impact Anti-Terrorism Laws” – Harvard Law School: National Security Journal - July 2, 2013 -

Second, policymakers should beware of reflexive legislation. Terror attacks create conditions in which emotions can run high; feelings of terror, anger, sadness, confusion, and frustration are natural consequences of these circumstances. Behavioral psychology teaches us that human beings’ higher-order thinking skills (e.g. logic, reasoning, analysis, reflection) are poorly integrated with baser, emotionally-rooted thinking (e.g. irrational prejudices, unreasonable fears, self-destructive desires).[11] One researcher has gone so far as to say that the amygdala—the portion of the brain that controls reactive emotion—can hijack the higher-order parts of the brain, impeding effective decision-making in crises.[12] Considering this, it is reasonable to suggest that laws passed in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks may be rooted more in baser, emotionally-driven thinking than in careful, analytical, higher-order thinking. In other words, they may be mostly reflexive, not reflective. This is not to say that all laws passed after terrorist attacks are emotionally-driven. Nor is it the case that all laws created in these circumstances are somehow “bad” laws. But during and after terrorist attacks, leaders’ judgment of what may or may not be good law can become clouded by emotion. Similarly, terrorist attacks can drive public support for reflexive anti-terrorism legislation. And this is not an instinct that can be somehow “shut off” or “tuned out.” Legislators and citizens should be aware of this potential, and must walk a fine line between meeting immediate post-crisis needs and championing laws that will remain effective for the long haul. Third, “sunset” provisions are prudent and reasonable. Given that anti-terrorism laws passed in the wake of terrorist attacks may be partly driven by emotion and that initial laws may prove difficult to undo, it is wise for government leaders to include “sunset” provisions in new anti-terrorism laws. Generally “sunset” provisions allow portions of a law to expire if not renewed by a pre-determined date. In a sense, democracies must deliver a new mandate for the law—or at least part of the law—to avoid this expiration. With “sunset” provisions in place, unwise, irrelevant, or ineffective components of a law can be allowed to wither and die when necessary. Letting these provisions lapse requires virtually no political capital from government leaders, unlike actively changing or removing a law, which can require a great deal. For elected officials, this means that letting part of an anti-terrorism law expire is relatively easy. Re-examining and pruning anti-terrorism laws in this way is a healthy practice. It can head off potential abuses of particularly aggressive anti-terrorism measures and forces a continual re-thinking of anti-terrorism laws as circumstances change over time. The recent NSA surveillance controversy highlights the relevance of the ratchet effect to broader discussions of anti-terrorism laws. The ratchet effect can affect anti-terrorism laws generally, entrenching and expanding them over time and potentially leading to those laws being interpreted in unexpected and undesirable ways. The USA PATRIOT Act, developed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has been difficult to scale back since then, and has now been interpreted in a way that at least one of the Act’s authors did not intend. This unintended interpretation of the Act led, in part, to today’s NSA surveillance controversy. Scholars can benefit from future explorations of the ratchet effect, which may help illuminate further why anti-terrorism laws remain in place and how their influence can expand in unanticipated ways.


The Disad turns the case via rollback and new civil liberty violations. Status Quo detection is key.

Clarke ‘13

(et al; This is the Final Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. President Obama ordered a blue-ribbon task force to review domestic surveillance. This report releases the findings of that group. The report was headed by five experts – including Richard Alan Clarke, who is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States. Other expert contributors include Michael Joseph Morell, who was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and served as acting director twice in 2011 and from 2012 to 2013 and Cass Robert Sunstein, who was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration and is currently a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “LIBERTY AND SECURITY IN A CHANGING WORLD” – December 12th, 2013 – Easily obtained via a google search. 12_rg_final_report.pdf&ei=Db0yVdDjKIKdNtTXgZgE&usg=AFQjCNH0S_Fo9dckL9bRarVpi4M6pq6MQ&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY)

The September 11 attacks were a vivid demonstration of the need for detailed information about the activities of potential terrorists. This was so for several reasons. First, some information, which could have been useful, was not collected and other information, which could have helped to prevent the attacks, was not shared among departments. Second, the scale of damage that 21st-century terrorists can inflict is far greater than anything that their predecessors could have imagined. We are no longer dealing with threats from firearms and conventional explosives, but with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices and biological and chemical agents. The damage that such attacks could inflict on the nation, measured in terms of loss of life, economic and social disruption, and the consequent sacrifice of civil liberties, is extraordinary. The events of September 11 brought this home with crystal clarity. Third, 21st-century terrorists operate within a global communications network that enables them both to hide their existence from outsiders and to communicate with one another across continents at the speed of light. Effective safeguards against terrorist attacks require the technological capacity to ferret out such communications in an international communications grid. Fourth, many of the international terrorists that the United States and other nations confront today cannot realistically be deterred by the fear of punishment. The conventional means of preventing criminal conduct—the fear of capture and subsequent punishment—has relatively little role to play in combating some contemporary terrorists. Unlike the situation during the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union was deterred from launching a nuclear strike against the United States in part by its fear of a retaliatory counterattack, the terrorist enemy in the 21st-century is not a nation state against which the United States and its allies can retaliate with the same effectiveness. In such circumstances, detection in advance is essential in any effort to “provide for the common defence.” Fifth, the threat of massive terrorist attacks involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons can generate a chilling and destructive environment of fear and anxiety among our nation’s citizens. If Americans came to believe that we are infiltrated by enemies we cannot identify and who have the power to bring death, destruction, and chaos to our lives on a massive scale, and that preventing such attacks is beyond the capacity of our government, the quality of national life would be greatly imperiled. Indeed, if a similar or even more devastating attack were to occur in the future, there would almost surely be an impulse to increase the use of surveillance technology to prevent further strikes, despite the potentially corrosive effects on individual freedom and self-governance.

The U.S. has assumed a unilateral preemptive approach of maintaining fear against terror.

Smith 07 – Haviland Smith, retired CIA station chief from Exeter & Dartmouth, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Analysis on U.S. Foreign Policy, 2007 (“The U.S. Response to Terrorism: A Fundamentally Flawed Strategy,” November, mit/smith_response.html, Accessed 6/16/15, JL)

During the Cold War, American foreign policy was built on the twin bases of containment and alliances: containment of the Soviet Union and her allies and alliances with our friends in support of that containment. The critical element in the success of that policy was acceptance by both sides that the nuclear weaponry of the day would preclude any preemptive strike of one against the other. We called that MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction. An additional important element in that policy was the fact that our allies, and to a somewhat lesser extent the allies of the Soviet Union, were able to exercise constraints on the policies and activities of both of the principals. Say what you will, even with a couple of very close calls, that policy prevailed and the Cold War never turned hot. The role of the intelligence community during the Cold War, as it is (or should be) at any given time, was to provide policy makers with finished intelligence designed to help with the decision making process. Whether or not the collection and analytical processes succeed, all the intelligence-producing organizations in the intelligence community are designed to provide that product. The demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the accompanying threat of Soviet nuclear weaponry brought a close to that era. The events of 9/11 set us on a completely different path. Since that horrible moment, we have embarked on a totally new foreign policy of preemptive unilateralism and an equally new domestic policy of intolerance for dissent and of creating and maintaining fear and anxiety in the American public. The question for examination is whether or not those changes and these new policies serve us well in the ongoing struggle with radical Muslim terrorism.A Radical Revolution in Foreign Policy Preemptive unilateralism represents a radical revolution in foreign policy. After a whole string of “reasons” for the attack on Iraq, we are now told that we needed to preemptively attack Iraq because they had the “intellectual capability” to create a nuclear weapon. Is that to be the basis for future foreign preemptions? The constraints placed on previous administrations by our Cold War alliances have gone completely out the window. The “unilateral” part of this new policy, as mirrored in our established refusal to listen to anyone about our plans for invading Iraq, has ruled out moderating counsel from any of our former friends and allies, leaving us almost friendless in today’s world. As we saw in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, it has been more important to the Bush administration to go ahead with its plans than to listen to its (former) friends and allies. Although it is extremely difficult to sort out the true motivation behind that policy, what we have learned from the “kiss and tell” revelations of former members of this administration is that the decision to invade Iraq had been made well before 9/11. Given the fact that none of the litany of “justifications” (WMD, Iraqi ties to Al-Qaida, bringing democracy to the Arabs, etc.) for the invasion has held up to scrutiny, that decision would now appear to be based primarily on ideological imperatives. For intelligence professionals, both active and retired, that raises the question of the role, if any, for finished intelligence in today’s foreign policy deliberations. The Bush administration’s disinclination to listen to counsel from the State Department, the unprecedented visits of the Vice President to CIA analysts, the creation of the Office for Special Plans in the Pentagon to “relook” old intelligence, and the willingness to listen to “Curveball,” a known fabricator, and Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraq National Congress, whose goal of overthrowing the Baathists in Iraq could only be achieved through misleading the United States into war, give a clear picture of an administration that was only interested in seeing intelligence that supported an already settled policy decision. The only conceivably worse basis for action would be if someone in the administration were listening to extraterrestrial voices! Many past administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have made foreign policy decisions not only on the basis of the objective facts in the area under consideration, but also on the basis of their domestic political needs. It is difficult, however, to recall an administration that has so blatantly ignored objective realities as this one. As long as this is the way foreign policy is formulated, there will be little to no role for input from the intelligence community. However imperfect intelligence may be at any given moment or on any given issue, it does have a potentially constructive role to play in support of foreign policy. At minimum, intelligence deserves to be heard, not summarily dismissed. Domestic Policy Problems The administration’s domestic policy during this same period has been based solely on ensuring the “security of the American people.” That has brought us the Patriot Acts, wireless wiretapping, the abrogation of habeas corpus, torture, rendition, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc. And those are only the things we know about! We have been given a color coded terrorist threat warning system and daily hammering on what constitutional rights Americans have to give up to be “safe.” Most importantly, this administration and its supporters in the Congress, the media, and the public have resorted to the worst kinds of character assassination and name calling to maintain the atmosphere of fear and anxiety they have so adroitly created. If you disagree with the policy they support, you are “soft on terror,” “unpatriotic,” or, even worse, a traitor. In short, dissent is intimidated — a process never approved by our founding fathers.

at: culture shift

Political culture has not shifted. Rollback still possible if another terror episode takes place.

Cole ‘15

David Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of seven books, and his books have received multiple awards, including the American Book Award for Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism. “Reining in the NSA” – The New York Review of Books – June 2nd -

If Edward Snowden had not revealed the NSA’s sweeping surveillance of Americans, Congress would have simply renewed Section 215, the USA Patriot Act provision that the NSA relied on before its expiration on June 1—as Congress had done on seven previous occasions since 2001. But Snowden’s leaking of top secret NSA documents let Americans in on the previously secret fact that their government was collecting all of their phone data, without regard to whether they had ever engaged in any terrorist, criminal, or even suspicious activity. As a result, Congress has now imposed restrictions on national security surveillance for the first time since the September 11 attacks. Some have seen the passage of the USA Freedom Act as reflecting a major shift in Americans’ attitudes toward liberty and security. That is possible, but only time, and another terrorist attack, will tell. What is certain when it comes to surveillance is the critical importance of both sunsets, requiring a law to be reauthorized at regular intervals, and sunshine, or transparency about how the law is being used in practice. Without the pending expiration of Section 215, Snowden’s revelations would not have led to reform; Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to reforming the law would have been more than sufficient to block any change.

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   23

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page