Patriot Act

By Alex Braeuer, KyoungEun Jeong,
Judith Martin, Gisela Torrenti
History of the PATRIOT Act
What is the PATRIOT Act about?
Pros and Cons of the PATRIOT Act
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,
The Act was passed 45 days after the September 11,
2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York
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
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 and Cons
The act improves the counter- terrorism effort in several
significant ways:
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
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.
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.
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.
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”.
Unconstitutional: constitutional freedoms are
in danger.
Danger to individual rights.
Is a threat against freedom of expression.
Distress signal at Grinnell.
Peace offense in New York.
Full exposure in Florida.
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
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