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 http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/patriotact/ 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 Strike. • 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 Security. • 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 2005. • 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 http://action.aclu.org/reformthepatriotact/ 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.