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The USA PATRIOT Act Dr. Matt Robinson Appalachian State University.

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Presentation on theme: "The USA PATRIOT Act Dr. Matt Robinson Appalachian State University."— Presentation transcript:


2 The USA PATRIOT Act Dr. Matt Robinson Appalachian State University

3 USA PATRIOT Act Stands for: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”

4 USA PATRIOT Act Purpose: “To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.”

5 PATRIOT facts Signed into law on October 26, 2001 (45 days after 9/11/2001) Overwhelmingly passed and bi-partisan (98 to 1 in Senate and 357 to 66 in House) 342 pages long (did they read it?)

6 Changes a dozen laws (e.g., FERPA, FISA) Reads like a computer manual “Wrong bill” (changed before the vote) No conference report PATRIOT facts

7 Not meant to be permanent law (some sections sunset on Dec. 31, 2005) … Only 3 of the “troubling ones” sunset (Sections 213, 215, 218) PATRIOT facts

8 Representative James Sensenbrener: USA PATRIOT Act renewal will “be done over my dead body... I said at the time I did not think there were the votes to pass the [USA PATRIOT Act] in the House without the sunset and I still stand by that” Never mind! (Senate and House voted to extend law!) #reauth #reauth PATRIOT facts

9 Encourages and eases sharing of information between various government agencies (including FBI, CIA, local law enforcement and immigration) PATRIOT benefits

10 Easier to “connect the dots” of information about potential terrorist threats PATRIOT benefits Question: Did we NOT have enough evidence to see the attacks of 9/11 coming???

11 Mary Schiavo, former Inspector General for U.S. Dept. of Transportation (1990-1996) Resigned in 1996 after FAA tried to classify report detailing lax security at the nation's major airports (agents able to sneak fake bombs, hand grenades, guns and knives through metal detectors)

12 Dozens and Dozens of warnings about planes being used as weapons against US targets! nes.html nes.html Not to Mention …

13 Increases funding to patrol and secure Northern border of the United States PATRIOT benefits

14 Permits rewards to combat terrorism and provides funding opportunities for training of firefighters and other first responders PATRIOT benefits

15 Increases ability of law enforcement to intercept discussions of terror plans (Grants greater power to monitor telephone and Internet conversations of suspects) PATRIOT benefits

16 Gives access to “any tangible things … books, records, papers, documents … for an investigation … provided that such investigation of a U.S. person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.” PATRIOT fears

17 … like say buying a book from PATRIOT fears

18 “A significant purpose” must be for the gathering of foreign intelligence (Changed from “the purpose”) PATRIOT fears

19 Intended for use in non- terrorist crimes against American citizens (Gives access to medical, financial, library, educational, and other personal records for normal criminal matters) PATRIOT fears

20 Forbids librarians and business owners & employees from informing people that their records have been requested or seized

21 PATRIOT fears Allows taps of any and all phones of people and monitoring of Internet use

22 PATRIOT fears Permits entry to homes to seize property without even informing a search has taken place (“sneak and peak warrants”)

23 PATRIOT fears Permits spying on religious and political organizations and individuals without any evidence of criminal activity

24 PATRIOT fears Creates “domestic terrorism” (criminal acts dangerous to human life meant to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to intimidate or coerce a civilian population)

25 PATRIOT realities No one outside of Justice Dept. knows how it is really being used Vigorously defended by Attorney General Ashcroft/Gonzalez Ashcroft 32-city tour cost taxpayers $200,000

26 PATRIOT realities Website claims great successes ( Justice Dept. report provides some evidence (July 2004 -- Report from the Field: The USA PATRIOT Act at Work)

27 PATRIOT realities Being used for non- terrorist crimes against Americans Settle down!

28 PATRIOT realities Law enforcement mislead FISA Court at least 75 times Law enforcement visiting libraries Law enforcement monitoring, spying on, infiltrating peace groups

29 PATRIOT backlash More than towns and counties and 8 states passed resolutions to modify law (more than 85 million Americans) National League of Cities passed resolution to modify law (245 million Americans)

30 PATRIOT backlash House voted 309-118 to withdraw funding for “sneak and peak” warrants (9-4 in NC) Sanders-Paul-Conyers- Otter-Nadler Amendment to 2005 spending bill defeated in tie (210-210)*** *** original vote was 219-201 to pass bill

31 PATRIOT backlash SAFE Act supported by a diverse group of liberal and conservative groups (ACLU, ACU, ALA, GOA) Major conservatives against USA PATRIOT Act (Bob Barr, Dick Armey, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich)

32 PATRIOT backlash 95% of criminal justice experts say law passed too quickly 74% say law threatens civil liberties 68% believe that existing laws could be leveraged to protect the nation from terrorism

33 PATRIOT backlash Federal Judge Audrey Collins declared Section 805 unconstitutional (Jan. 23, 2004) Federal Judge Victor Marrero declared Section 505 unconstitutional (Sept. 29, 2004)

34 PATRIOT backlash Federal Judge Audrey Collins declared Section 805 unconstitutional again! (Jul. 29, 2005) Judge Janet Hall lifted a gag order that had been imposed on a librarian by the FBI under the USA PATRIOT Act. (September 9, 2005) US Chamber of Commerce wrote letter to Senate Judiciary Committee to revise Sections 215 and 505 (October 4, 2005)

35 PATRIOT backlash Renewed in 2006 and again in 2010

36 “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” A Final Thought …

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