Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mary M. Brown


The domestic security dilemma is a recurring problem whereby counterterrorism programs are continuously in a state of flux as demands for increased civil liberties and national security compete, as demonstrated by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. The National Security Agency bulk metadata collection program (NSA Surveillance Program) was created to identify terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks, but the USA FREEDOM Act prohibited the program in 2015. The NSA Surveillance Program's prohibition is problematic because the United States may not obtain the intelligence necessary to prevent a terrorist attack. The purpose of this qualitative narrative case study was to describe how members of the House Judiciary Committee may have used rhetorical speech during the congressional hearing held on July 17, 2013, when speaking about the NSA Surveillance Program. Rhetorical speech is the use of narrative characters (e.g., hero, villain) that may adversely affect rational judgment and policy decisions. The congressional hearing transcript was collected from the Government Publishing Office, and the Narrative Policy Framework's content analysis was used to analyze the data. Four key findings emerged from this study: (a) Congress was most frequently identified as the hero, (b) the Coalition was most frequently identified as the villain, (c) Congress defended the USA PATRIOT Act, and (d) Congress was most interested in the program’s legality/constitutionality rather than its effectiveness. This study may enhance the legislators' proclivity toward informed decision making when confronted with rhetorical discourse, thereby leading to improved policy outcomes that foster positive social change for the United States.