As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches, Americans increasingly balk at intrusive government surveillance in the name of national security, and only about a third believe that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were worth fighting, according to a new poll.
More Americans also regard the threat from domestic extremism as more worrisome than that of extremism abroad, the poll found.
The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that support for surveillance tools aimed at monitoring conversations taking place outside the country, once seen as vital in the fight against attacks, has dipped in the last decade. That’s even though international threats are again generating headlines following the chaotic end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan.
In particular, 46% of Americans say they oppose the U.S. government responding to threats against the nation by reading emails sent between people outside of the U.S. without a warrant, as permitted under law for purposes of foreign intelligence collection. That’s compared to just 27% who are in favor. In an AP-NORC poll conducted one decade ago, more favored than opposed the practice, 47% to 30%.