Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State

Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State

Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State

Slate's blog on legal issues.
April 21 2008 10:48 AM

Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State

Since the 9/11 terror attacks theFBI has adopted a strategy of attempting to nip potential terroristplots in the bud by bringing prosecutions against suspected terroristsbased on relatively sparse evidence of criminal conspiracy. This strategy, the FBIcontends, has prevented possible future terrorist attacks, but it hasresulted in very few convictions, creating a new set of difficultchoices for law enforcement and a new set of potential dangers forcivil liberties.

Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.