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At the same time, White said the U.S. should address the root causes of terrorism by increasing foreign aid to countries that breed terrorists as a means to improve living conditions and boost education. She said it is necessary to use all the tools at our disposal because law enforcement and criminal prosecutions, while effective, are not enough by themselves to curb terrorism. The American criminal justice system, she said, can only go after a fraction of the world’s terrorists, who number in the thousands, and, even then, prosecution has limited value as a deterrent.
However, White stopped short of granting the executive branch carte blanche to conduct the war on terrorism. She said the courts must act as a check on the president and find the right balance between national security and civil liberties, as the Supreme Court recognized in its decisions last June. In those decisions, the Court ruled that so-called enemy combatants held in military brigs in Guantanamo Bay have a right to challenge their detention and seek release.
White said judicial review provides the best protection against the government going too far to keep the country safe. "There will be no blank check to indefinitely detain anyone in this likely indefinite war on terrorism. That is a very good thing for civil liberties – and it is consistent with our national security as well."
Still, White warned that the country must accept some compromises on civil liberties, given the fanaticism, resources and intelligence of the terrorists, and their determination to harm the U.S. and its citizens.
"International terrorism has indeed come – and will come again to America … (And so) we must not shy away from tighter laws and more rigorous enforcement of existing laws. It is a critical national security issue."
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