Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Erik Haugsnes displays a sign referring to President Bush during a February 2006 protest in Chicago of the administration's domestic wiretapping program.
Erik Haugsnes displays a sign referring to President Bush during a February 2006 protest in Chicago of the administration's domestic wiretapping program. Tim Boyle/Getty Images
The American people have long debated how best to balance protecting individual liberties while assuring public safety. The intensity of this debate increased markedly in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, which prompted the Patriot Act and other legislative initiatives. The moves were designed to increase protection against terrorist attacks, but they also allowed increased government scrutiny of individual activities.
The question of whether it is better to have more domestic surveillance than another Sept. 11-like attack was recently posed to a panel of experts in an Oxford-style debate, part of the Intelligence Squared U.S. series. The debates are modeled on a program begun in London in 2002: three experts argue in favor of the proposition and three argue against.
In the latest debate, held on April 18, the formal proposition was: Better More Domestic Surveillance than Another 9/11. The debate was held at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City and was moderated by ABC News Correspondent Chris Bury.
In a vote held before the debate, 41 percent of the audience supported the proposition and 37 percent opposed it, while 22 percent said they were undecided. After the debate, the audience voted 39.5 percent in support, 55.6 percent against and less than 5 percent undecided.
Highlights from the debate:
Produced for broadcast by WNYC, New York.