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Much of the U.S. public’s concern about post-September 11 policies has focused on the government’s new surveillance powers, including the ability to peruse business records, library files, and other data of individuals against whom there may not even be any specific suspicion of complicity with terrorism. These policies potentially affect far more U.S. citizens than, for example, the designation of “enemy combatants,” or the decision to hold individuals for months in prison on routine visa charges. But the latter efforts to diminish the right to liberty and to curtail or circumvent the courts’ protection of that right may be far more dangerous to the U.S. polity as a whole.

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