After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government changed its domestic policies in a lot of ways that did little to keep its residents safer from terrorism, even as it infringed on civil liberties and weakened basic protections against government abuses. Air travelers endured years taking off their shoes and throwing away their water bottles at the behest of an incompetent TSA bureaucracy that still misses most guns. The NYPD sent undercover officers to profile Muslim American students, even going on a river rafting trip to spy on them, only to generate zero leads. The NSA built a domestic system of mass surveillance that affects all U.S. residents.
There is no evidence that any of it made Americans safer.
The nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, has prompted renewed calls from prominent figures for new infringements on the civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens and residents. Their suggestions would do little if anything to keep anyone safer, and would assist jihadists in further chipping away at freedoms and protections against government abuses. For these reasons and more, their alarmist responses to Sunday’s attack should be rebuked by cooler heads.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reacted to the attacks with the suggestion that Congress revive HUAC, the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee. “We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis,” he explained. “We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after Nazis. And we made it illegal to help the Nazis. We're going to have to take similar steps here.”