David Shipler

David K. Shipler is the author of The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties (Knopf). The second volume, Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America (Knopf), will be published in 2012. He writes online at The Shipler Report.

Recent Articles

Extreme Measures

Since September 11, the Fourth Amendment has been eroded in ways we do not even know. The scary part is that it's going to take years to undo the damage.

The abuse of the Constitution that followed September 11, 2001, was neither surprising nor inevitable. It was not a surprise, because it wasn't the first time in American history—but the sixth, by my count—that fundamental rights had been violated during spasms of fear over national security. It was not inevitable, because prominent voices might have called the country back to its principles. There is no telling whether such appeals would have stood against the tide, but one man's words did make a difference in the emergency command center at FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue several hours after the attacks. The voice belonged to James Ziglar, then commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, who thinks of himself as a Goldwater Republican. "I'm quite a Bill of Rights kind of guy," he says. At the FBI that day, he gathered with other senior officials for what he describes as a discussion about doing "some big sweeps" in "any community where there was a...