San Diego International Law Journal


Amos N. Guiora

Document Type



While Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, would strike most Americans as the starting date for terrorism- at least as understood by a recently attacked America- the truth is very different both from the American and international perspective. The scope and intensity of the attack that Tuesday morning dramatically changed the American response to terrorism in the short-term and long-term. The change in America's response has impacted the American political debate, its way of life, and its legal and policy perspectives regarding terrorism and counter-terrorism alike. September 11 also had a global impact from an operational, intelligence-gathering, policy and legal perspective. The world has known terrorism for years, or at least parts of it have, and different nations have responded in varying ways to attack. How nations respond is often a reflection of their existing infrastructure, operational abilities, political system, and culture. However, as this article discusses, the different responses clearly exhibit a common theme, that of responding while attempting to strike a balance between legitimate national security interests and the rights of the individual. That balance, from the perspective of both law and policy, will be analyzed in the context of terrorist threats and actual attacks alike. The analysis of the legal and policy responses is the core of this article.