US public opinion being prepared for new “Patriot Act”

12.08.2019, Washington.

Domestic terrorism is a grossly underestimated threat to US security, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi wrote in his opinion piece published on August 10 on NBC‘s website.

According to the former high-ranking US counterintelligence officer, the US must adopt a new federal law aimed at countering domestic terrorism in order to prevent further mass shootings by extremists, such as the events in El Paso on August 3. In his address, Figliuzzi refers to the experience of the Patriot Act, which considerably extended the powers of the US security services after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“It’s time to dismantle the artificial legal wall between domestic and international terrorism,” the former FBI assistant director demands.

A wave of high-profile mass murders in the USA last week caused an uproar in the media and on social networks. The information wave focused on the El Paso killer’s allegiance to the ideology of white supremacy.

Print media, such as Time and The New York Times, as well as major TV channels such as NBC, PBS and CNN became saturated with materials demanding that right-wing radicalism be qualified as domestic terrorism, and that US security services’ powers must be extended to combat the supporters of extremist ideologies.

Editorial comment

Many Americans perceive the Patriot Act mentioned by the former FBI assistant director as an extremely controversial issue, because many believe that the wire-tapping US citizens by the security services for the sake of countering terrorism was a hidden subversion of the fundamentals of the US Constitution. A seemingly reasonable act on countering domestic extremism faces the problem that the criteria defining this extremism are blurred.

With a certain approach to interpreting such a law, a wide range of statements can be claimed “extremist,” which can result in tabooing quite a broad spectrum of topics in the public discourse. However, US society has already swallowed a similar pill once after September 11, 2001, giving away a certain part of its freedom in exchange for security guarantees. It is not beyond the realm of imagination to suppose that US society can again agree to such an exchange under pressure from the media.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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