Security, sabotage, spies at Constitution Center

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PHILADELPHIA – It was one of the worst acts of terrorism in U.S. history, a deadly deed that filled the New York City sky with smoke and debris, thrust the nation into war, prompted restrictive new laws and intensified hostility toward foreigners.

Yet it happened nearly a century before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, on Black Tom Island, a munitions depot in New York Harbor sabotaged by German agents and American collaborators in 1916.

This and other examples of domestic terrorism are part of a new exhibition at the National Constitution Center, tracing the evolution of revolution and exploring how panic and prejudice can disrupt the balance between safeguarding civil liberties and protecting the public.

"Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America" opened Friday and runs through May 30. Created by the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., it examines acts of revolution, sabotage, protest, subversion and extremism by foreign-born and home-grown militants, activists and spies from the Revolutionary War to the post-9/11 present....

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