Patriot Act

In 2001, the American government formulated and enacted into law the Patriotic Act. With this Act, the intelligence agencies and other law enforcers were legally allowed to toughen their sentences on convicted terrorists (Huddy & Feldman, 2011). Besides, these institutions were allowed to access, gather, and sometimes share crucial information regarding America’s national security, especially in regards to terrorist activities. However, this approach led to threatened civil liberties and misuse of power; for instance, in the case of Mohamed v. Jeppesen Data Plan, Inc. case.

The plaintiffs in this case alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other government contractors forcefully and inhumanly arrested, detained, and used extremely toughened methods to extract information from them despite their innocence. However, to conceal the illegal activities that were carried out, the CIA head, General Hayden invoked the state secret privilege leading to the dismissal of the entire case. The case was dismissed on the ground that the evidence required to incriminate Jeppesen Inc. would cause harm to America’s national security (Bohannon, 2010).

Under those premises, I strongly disagree with the usage of this doctrine to fight terrorism in America. In fact, the doctrine will encourage the state to cease from using the state security privilege to protect America and instead use it as an immunity doctrine. In the Mohamed case, the CIA by the authority vested in it by the Patriotic Act exposed innocent individuals to inhuman torture. However, in a bid to conceal their illegal activities invoked the State Secret Privilege to ensure that the plaintiffs were not accorded the required litigation procedure. Moreover, the court assured to merge both the Totten Bar and Reynolds privilege indicating that the evidence provided was blurred. By making a ruling on this approach, the court dismissed the case on grounds that the line between secret and non-secretive information was fragile (Bohannon, 2010). Therefore, the further provision of secret evidence would compromise national security.

As is evident from the Mohamed case, the invoking of the state’s security privilege does not protect the state, but instead acts as an immunity provider for intelligence agencies. Therefore, this doctrine should not be invoked in such cases because intelligence agencies will continually be guaranteed protection even when they act unconstitutionally and infringe on human rights.


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