How 9/11 Changed Government

Written by Hudson Crozier

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush declared that world leaders must “do everything they can” to end the threat of terrorism — and he meant it. With popular support in the name of security, Bush and Congress ushered in a new era of federal power that has since turned on Americans.

Surveillance: Security legislation like the Patriot Act made spying on members of the public without warrants common. The government has repeatedly broken its own surveillance rules to spy on Americans, including a duly-elected president. The Department of Justice has urged Congress to remember “the lessons of 9/11” and renew controversial surveillance power from that era.

The bureaucracy: Bush created the Department of Homeland Security and its sub-agencies to watch over airports, the border, and other vulnerable areas and to keep records of “dangerous” individuals. The DHS now links skepticism of elections and pandemic policies to possible terror threats.

The censorship state: The DHS and other agencies have made it a “national security” goal to control political speech by telling online platforms to censor viewpoints. President Joe Biden’s administration is now trying to weaponize technology used for tracking foreign terrorists against “misinformation.”

Turning inward: Attempting to repeat history, the Biden administration has used outrage against the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot to launch a war on “domestic” terror, which the president sees as an existential threat from his political enemies on the right. Some of the January 6 protesters were veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq; though they fought for the U.S. against foreign terrorists, the U.S. now targets them as terror threats.

Join the conversation

or to participate.