The Idea of Terrorism

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The world changed on September 11, 2001 when hijackers from a group called Al-Qaeda sent planes into New York City's Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington DC. In total, 3,000 people died, the majority citizens and not all from the United States, but at least 90 countries. Responding to this act was a global "War on Terrorism," which resulted in an invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. Patriot Act, and several civil and social changes in American society. More than anything else, though, U.S. security policy came under intense scrutiny and a new Cabinet Level Department was formed, Homeland Security. Congress also reacted by authorizing the use of military force against any individual, group, or State that participated or had any relation to the 9/11 attacks. The changes made to the American security system because of 9/11 were vast, and affected citizens at home and abroad, with certain groups fearful that civil liberties were now less important than security. In fact, the Patriot Act provides governmental agencies with extraordinary legal means to conduct surveillance from the Internet, emails, telephones, and other communication devices; to search and gather data, perform analysis, and act without a Court warrant if there is a threat present. The technology known as "carnivore" is an example of this. Carnivore sifts through millions of emails and electronic communications to find keywords that might indicate potential terrorist threats. This also allows phones to be
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