History of the PATRIOT Act The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, known as the USA PATRIOT Act or simply the Patriot Act, is legislation of the US-Congress which was signed by President George W. Bush into law on October 26, 2001. The Act was passed 45 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
What is the PATRIOT Act about? It substantially expanded the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies for the stated purpose of fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad. The Act increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone and e-mail communications and medical, financial and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and enhanced the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include "domestic terrorism," thus enlarging the number of activities to which the Patriot Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.
What is the PATRIOT Act about? II The USA PATRIOT Act has ten titles, each containing numerous sections. Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures granted increased powers of surveillance to various government agencies and bodies. This title has 25 sections, with one of the sections (section 224) containing a sunset clause which sets an expiration date, 31 December 2005, for most of the title's provisions. In July 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a reauthorization bill with substantial changes to several sections of the act, while the House reauthorization bill kept most of the act's original language. The two bills were then reconciled in a conference committee that was criticized by Senators from both parties for ignoring civil liberty concerns. The bill, which removed most of the changes from the Senate version, passed Congress on March 2, 2006 and was signed into law by President Bush on March 9, 2006.
What is the PATRIOT Act about? III Title VIII alters the definitions of terrorism, and establishes or re-defines rules. It redefined the term "domestic terrorism" to broadly include mass destruction as well as assassination or kidnapping as a terrorist activity. The definition also encompasses activities that are "dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State" and are intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population," "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion," or are undertaken "to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping" while in the jurisdiction of the United States. A number of measures were introduced in an attempt to prevent and penalize activities that are deemed to support terrorism. It was made a crime to harbor or conceal terrorists, and those who do are subject to a fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.
PROS The act improves the counter- terrorism effort in several significant ways: 1. The patriot act allows investigators to use the tools that were already avaliable to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking. Allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror. Allows federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorist trained to evade detection
PROS Allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists. Allows federal agents to ask a court an order to obtain business records in national security terrorism cases. 2. The Patriot Act update the law to reflect new technologies and new threats. Allows law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant anywhere a terrorist-related activity ocurred. Allows victims of computer hacking to request law enforcement assitance monitoring the “trespassers” on their computers.
PROS 3. The Patriot Act increased the penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes, so the Patriot Acts: Prohibits the harboring of terrorists. Enhanced the inadequate maxium penalties for various crimes likely to be commited by terrorists. Enhanced a number of conspiracy penalties.
PROS In this context, some texts are in favour of “The Patriot act”, for instance: (…) the authorities of the Patriot Act exist to protect the very liberties that our Founders established in the Constitution. By protecting our freedoms, our civil liberties are enhanced, not diminished. Tom Ridge, J.D., former Homeland Security Secretary, in his July 15, 2004 speech “Prepared Remarks at the Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center”.
CONS Unconstitutional: constitutional freedoms are in danger. Danger to individual rights. Is a threat against freedom of expression. Examples: Distress signal at Grinnell. Peace offense in New York. Full exposure in Florida.
CONS USA PATRIOT Act gives the Attorney General and federal law enforcement unnecessary and permanent new powers to violate civil liberties that go far beyond the stated goal of fighting international terrorism. The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) wrote in their Oct.23, 2001 “Letter to the Senate Urging Rejection on the Final Version of the USA PATRIOT Act”.