Security and freedom balance is one of the main strategies of the US government. Being a democratic state, the US supports democratic initiatives. It puts effort in creating a state, which would correspond to the demands of its citizens. Latest events connected to the growth of threat of terrorism made government to turn to enforced measures of security. The efforts to defeat global terrorism and to prevent terrorist attacks can have negative consequences for the rights and freedoms of the citizens. Democratic regimes should “limit the reach of government protecting the institutions of civil society, including the family, religious communities, voluntary associations, private property, independent business, and a market economy.” (National Security Strategy)
In democratic state human liberty should be protected by democratic institutions. When speaking about the national security it’s especially important to remember about national minorities, civil liberties, and equality of all citizens to be sure all the rights of the citizens are observed. There had been developed governmental acts, such as the Patriot Act, for example, which strengthen the measures against the terrorism and protect human liberties at the same time.
After the tragedy of 9/11 US Federal government has immediately implemented additional security regulations. New legislation was enacted by the government to increase the security of passengers. Such preventive measures as additional check ups at the airports, additional security measures in all transport means and control and intensive screening of immigrants who enter the country had been implemented in order to stop terrorism and provide a better security. Right after the terrorist attack of 2001 president Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. “TSA has taken on 50,000 screeners screening 100 percent of passengers and 100 percent of bags there had been reinstituted the Air Marshal program, granted funds for bus companies located in 25 states …strengthened our shipping plan with $170,000 for port security.” (Blalock, Kadiyali et al, 2005)
Despite the appropriateness of additional safety measures their implementation has caused a lot of inconveniences for people who used airlines. Additional check ups came to be time-consuming and tiresome for some passengers. In addition the question about the defense of human liberties guaranteed by the Constitution arose. When trying to defend people its important to take into account that defense can also become a weapon to limit their liberties and it’s necessary to take this into account when implementing national security measures. In such cases the conflict between the efforts to enhance national security and individual liberty may arise. This conflict can not arise in the democratic society, though. In reality liberty and security are not the opposed notions. The first one follows from the second one. The protections of rights and freedoms of citizens in democratic state is achieved through the securing of their individual rights. Police powers are used not to limit the freedoms of the citizens but to guarantee their rights. Good and timely informing citizens about the changes in the state security policy can help to avoid misunderstandings of the state policy.
Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, Daniel H. Simon. The Impact of Post 9/11 Airport Security Measures on the Demand for Air Travel February 23, 2005
National Security Strategy (http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss/2006/nss2006.pdf)