Poll: Americans More Concerned About Civil Liberties In Wake Of Boston Bombing

by Zeke J Miller, Time  |  published on May 1, 2013

g9510.20_security.inddTwo weeks after the Boston Marathon terror attacks, the American people are far more concerned about new government limits on civil liberties than the need for new law enforcement measures to prevent future attacks, according to a new TIME/CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday.

When given a choice, 61 percent of Americans say they are more concerned about the government enacting new anti-terrorism policies that restrict civil liberties, compared to 31 percent who say they are more concerned about the government failing to enact strong new anti-terrorism policies.

The poll comes at a time when the Boston bombings, which killed three and maimed dozens, has reignited the debate over the unresolved tensions between civil liberties and our security, a topic that is the subject of TIME Magazine’s cover story this week. As Massimo Calabresi and Michael Crowley report, Tamerlan Tsarnaev exhibited a classic pattern of radicalization that might have been spotted through more intrusive surveillance of his online and religious activities. But although new guidelines expanded the FBI‘s counterterrorism powers in 2011, they also limited the bureau’s ability to conduct surveillance on mosques like the one where Tamerlan had two public outbursts suggesting the extent of his religious radicalism.

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