It turns out that Wise Domestic Intelligence and Enlightened Civil Liberties are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we need them both. And we need to closely monitor their relative balance—as well as their consistency and clarity. A new working paper authored by the Council on Foreign Relations’ adjunct senior fellow Daniel Prieto details the landscape of the current counterterrorism debate, and the new challenges in what he terms the war about terror.
Prieto argues that while President Obama's recent executive orders relating to Guantánamo, prisoner detention, and interrogation are hopeful, the challenge will be to write new rules relating to future prisoners.
"This study finds that even if the United States successfully solves some of the most high-profile counterterrorism issues on the table, it will still lack a comprehensive, coherent, and sustainable framework for dealing with the strategic challenge posed by transnational terrorism," writes the Council in a summary of the paper. "The study recommends that the United States reexamine the scope and limits of its war against al-Qaeda, treating national security and the protection of individual liberties as coequal objectives."