Liberty and Security in an Age of Terrorism-A Fred Friendly Seminar

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Liberty and Security in an Age of Terrorism—A Fred Friendly Seminar (58:00)
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The U.S. is on orange alert, and the citizens of Midburgh are on the lookout for “suspicious activity.” What should they do when circumstantial evidence indicating a potential terrorist plot points to two people of Arab ethnicity? This Fred Friendly Seminar, produced as part of Columbia University’s 250th Anniversary, explores the balance between national security and civil liberties in the post-9/11 world. Is one price of vigilance suspicion among neighbors? Do the demands of security now require broader government power to investigate and to detain? Using a hypothetical scenario, moderator Professor Michael Dorf of Columbia Law School pushes the panelists to confront these issues. Panelists include Viet Dinh, a principal architect of the USA PATRIOT Act; Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA); Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University; James Kallstrom, Senior Advisor for Counterterrorism to Governor Pataki, State of New York; Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies; Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International; Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University; Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union; First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams; James Gilmore, chair of the Congressional Advisory Commission on Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction; and Jack Cloonan, former FBI case agent on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda investigations. The panelists, who wrestle with these high-stakes questions in their daily lives, discuss the implications of the USA PATRIOT Act, surveillance of suspects, closed detention hearings, demands for student information, and just what constitutes an unlawful enemy combatant. Additional resources are located online at (58 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (15)

1. Suspicious Neighbors in "Metropolis" (04:53)
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A married couple in fictional "Metropolis" discovers suspicious activity in their Arab neighbors' apartment. Do they contact authorities or find out more about these neighbors first?

2. Neighbors Spying on Neighbors (03:18)

The panel discusses civil liberties and the right to privacy. People spying on their neighbors create an oppressive society. Would the couple feel differently if their neighbors were Norwegian?

3. Terrorists: Discrimination vs. Reality (02:54)

The panel states the FBI needs specific guidelines for investigating citizens. Is investigating Arabs discrimination? We can't "blink the reality" that most U.S. terrorists have been young Arab males.

4. The FBI Requests Student Records (03:40)

The FBI investigates the neighbors, students who may be plotting against structures in Metropolis. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, they request their college records without their knowledge.

5. Does Privacy Invasion Chill Activity? (03:16)

Dinh says terrorists already know how to avoid the law and privacy invasion only chills normal activity. The FBI conducts a "sneak and peak" search of the students' apartment while they're away.

6. Law Enforcement and Power (04:33)

Some panelists feel that law enforcement agencies have gained too much power since 9-11. Others claim the terrorist threat has broken down walls between agencies, allowing better communication.

7. Abrams Remembers FBI Misbehavior (02:48)

Panelists discuss the danger of government authority seeping into citizens' everyday lives under the guise of terrorist protection. Abrams recalls past misbehavior and lawlessness within the FBI.

8. Freedom of Speech on the Internet (03:46)

The FBI discovers anti-American, terrorist-related websites on the students' computer. The panel discusses whether such material is protected under the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.

9. Law Enforcement and Public Speeches (03:42)

The students' website announces an Anti-American speech at the campus. Does the FBI have the right to send an agent to the speech? Would knowledge of his presence affect public participation?

10. Civil Liberties and the Law (03:44)

Dinh says the FBI may attend public meetings, but on the same terms as the general public. Zakaria claims it is important to protect civil liberties without hindering law enforcement.

11. Enemy Combatants (04:14)

The students' case is closed, but their associate, Craig Johnson, is linked with terrorists and arrested. Martin states Johnson is considered an "enemy combatant" by the government.

12. Government Power Over Combatants (04:20)

Martin states enemy combatants can be held forever if the government thinks they're a threat. White says a combatant may hire a lawyer, but the government can appeal any decision.

13. Suspected Terrorists and Justice (03:31)

The panel discusses locking up suspected terrorists without a trial and the danger that poses to the criminal justice system. Actual wars are compared to the war on terrorism.

14. The Dilemma of Terrorist Cases (02:08)

Dorf questions whether dilemmas within terrorist cases could fundamentally change the nature of our society. White says they could, but the powers that be should be held accountable.

15. Freedom Issues in Today's Society (03:02)

Zakaria says intrusive investigations alienate the good will of a community and defeat open communication. Gilmore says freedom issues should be decided by society, not by judges.

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