U.S. Patriot Act

U.S. Patriot Act
Passed with minimal debate only 45 days after the September 11, 2001
attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, the Patriot Act
dramatically 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 email 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; and enhanced the discretion of law enforcement and
immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of
terrorism. 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.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
U.S. Policy Position Regarding the Patriot Act
Source: The White House
The Patriot Act Closes Dangerous Law Enforcement And
Intelligence Gaps
The Patriot Act Has Accomplished Exactly What It Was Designed To Do - It
Has Helped Us Detect Terrorist Cells, Disrupt Terrorist Plots, And Save
American Lives.
• The Patriot Act has helped law enforcement break up terror cells in
Ohio, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.
• The Patriot Act has helped in the prosecution of terrorist operatives and
supporters in California, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois Washington, and
North Carolina.
The Patriot Act Closes Dangerous Law Enforcement And
Intelligence Gaps
The Patriot Act Authorizes Vital Information Sharing To Help Law
Enforcement And Intelligence Officials Connect The Dots Before Terrorists
• The Patriot Act enables necessary cooperation and information sharing
by breaking down legal and bureaucratic walls.
The Patriot Act Eliminates Double Standards By Allowing Agents To Pursue
Terrorists With The Same Tools They Use Against Other Criminals.
• Before the Patriot Act, it was easier to track a drug dealer's phone
contacts than a terrorist's phone contacts, and it was easier to obtain a
tax cheat's credit card receipts than to trace the financial support of an
al-Qaida fundraiser.
The Patriot Act Closes Dangerous Law Enforcement And
Intelligence Gaps
The Patriot Act Adapts The Law To Modern Technology.
• The Patriot Act allows Internet service providers to disclose customer
records voluntarily to the government in emergencies.
The Patriot Act Preserves Our Freedoms And Upholds The Rule Of Law.
• The legislation adds over 30 new significant civil liberties provisions.
The Patriot Act Safeguards Our Nation
The Patriot Act Creates A New Assistant Attorney General for National
• This will allow the Justice Department to bring its national security,
counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and foreign intelligence
surveillance operations under a single authority.
The Patriot Act Tackles Terrorism Financing.
• This bill enhances penalties for terrorism financing and closes a
loophole concerning terrorist financing.
The Patriot Act Protects Mass Transportation
• This bill provides clear standards and tough penalties for attacks on our
land- and water-based mass transportation systems, as well as
commercial aviation.
The Patriot Act Combats Methamphetamine Abuse
The Patriot Act Includes The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act Of
• This bill introduces commonsense safeguards that will make many
ingredients used in methamphetamine manufacturing more difficult to
obtain in bulk and easier for law enforcement to track.
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a major American non-profit
organization with headquarters in New York City, whose stated mission is "to
defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every
person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It
works through litigation, legislation, and community education. The ACLU
reported over 500,000 members at the end of 2005.
Lawsuits brought by the ACLU have been influential in the evolution of U.S.
constitutional law. The ACLU provides legal assistance in cases in which it
considers civil liberties to be at risk.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Criticisms of the USA Patriot Act
Source: American Civil Liberties Union
Myths and Realities About the Patriot Act
Reply to Comments made by: Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey
Myth: “Under the Patriot Act, I'm very confident in saying there have been no
abuses found.”
• Ask Tariq Ramadan, who is regarded as a leading moderate Muslim
intellectuals, and had his visa revoked to teach at the University of Notre
Dame under Section 411 of the Patriot Act.
Myth: The Patriot Act simply updated the tools of law enforcement to match
the technology used by the terrorists and criminals today.
• Information sharing between criminal and intelligence investigations
occurred before Sept. 11, 2001 and the Patriot Act.
Myths and Realities About the Patriot Act
Reply to Comments made by: Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey
Myth: “The codification of delayed notice warrants in the Patriot Act “brought
national uniformity to a court-approved law enforcement tool that had been in
existence for decades.”
• The Patriot Act’s “sneak and peek” provision is about lowering standards
for sneak and peek warrants, not imposing uniformity.
Myth: The primary effect of the Patriot Act was to “bring down this ‘wall’
separating intelligence officers from law enforcement agents” in coordination
and information sharing.
• The Patriot Act “updated” surveillance powers but failed to “update” the
checks and balances needed to ensure those surveillance powers
include proper judicial oversight.
Myths and Realities About the Patriot Act
Reply to Comments made by: Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey
Myth: The Patriot Act’s “new powers have allowed authorities to charge more
than 400 people in terrorism investigations since the attacks of Sept. 11,
2001, and convict more than half.”
• Only 39 of these persons were convicted of crimes related to terrorism.
The median sentence for these crimes was 11 months, which indicates
the crime the government equated with terrorism was not serious.
Myth: “[The] Patriot Act is chock-full of oversight in a lot of ways that regular
criminal procedure is not: full of the involvement of federal judges…”
• The statute authorizing the use of “national security letters” as amended
by the Patriot Act 505(a) contains no judicial oversight.