See Wikipedia and the full text of the Act for details.
The Patriot Act was quickly passed through legislation after the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th, 2001. Although designed as an effort to protect and enhance investigations of possible terrorism actions, an ongoing debate into the moral and ethical and constitutional implications raised by certain parts of the Patriot Act have kept both fans and foes alike firmly aligned in their respective camps.
The Patriot Act Encourages Information Sharing By Breaking Down The Wall Between Law Enforcement And Intelligence.
Before The Patriot Act, Criminal Investigators Were Separated From Intelligence Officers By A Legal And Bureaucratic Wall. The Patriot Act helped tear down this wall, giving law enforcement and intelligence officers the ability to share information, work together, and bring terrorists to justice. Information Sharing Has Made A Difference. Two years ago, FBI agents in Ohio confronted Iyman Faris, and he was charged with providing support to al-Qaida after he, among other things, agreed to take part in a plot to destroy a New York City bridge. The capture came after an investigation that involved more than a dozen agencies in the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force that was made possible by the Patriot Act. According to one FBI agent, "The Faris case would not have happened without sharing information. We would never have even had the lead."
The Patriot Act Gave Law Enforcement Agents The Ability To Use Tools Against Terrorists That Are Already Available Against Other Criminals.
The Patriot Act Corrected Pointless Double Standards. Before the Patriot Act, it was easier to use a wiretap against a person committing mail fraud, or track the phone contacts of a drug dealer, or get the credit card receipts of a tax cheat, than to use these respective tools against a foreign terrorist. Roving Wiretaps Are Essential In Investigating International Terrorists. The Patriot Act extended the use of roving wiretaps, which were already permitted against drug kingpins and mob bosses, to international terrorism investigations. They must be approved by a judge. Without roving wiretaps, terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone.
The Patriot Act Brings The Law Into The 21st Century By Giving Law Enforcement Agents The Tools They Need To Fight New Kinds Of Crimes.
The Patriot Act Updates The Law To Meet New Threats Like Computer Espionage And Cyber Terrorism. One common-sense provision allows Internet providers, without fear of being sued, to give information to law enforcement when it would help law enforcement prevent a threat of death or serious injury.
Critics of the "Patriot" act take issue with powers granted by the act that have no defined limits. Such open ended powers allow abuse by individuals working in the government and to do so even for self serving purposes or towards amassing further powers.
Specific examples of contested powersEdit
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution establishes ...
- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The "National Security Letter"Edit
- Within the Patriot Act is a “National Security Letter” provision that authorizes the FBI to demand records without prior court approval. Anyone who receives an NSL is forbidden, or “gagged,” from telling anyone about the record demand.
- Since the Patriot Act was authorized in 2001, it has relaxed restrictions on the FBI’s use of the power, and the number of NSLs issued has seen a hundred-fold increase to 30,000 annually.
- Without appropriate checks on law enforcement, the FBI and other government agencies retain the power to seek the personal records of ordinary Americans. NSL secrecy rules deny our leaders and all Americans critical firsthand information that could, and should, influence the public debate on the Patriot Act and the NSL authority itself. Source - ACLU
The First Amendment to the US Constitution establishes that ...
- Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to ... petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
[see Discussion tab]