Patriot Act

Jovan Clark

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The Patriot act was created and signed 45 days after the 9/11 attack. This was a group of terrorists who hijacked two planes and crashed them into the twin towers. 2 other planes were involved, one crashing into a field in Pittsburgh PA, and the other into the U.S. Department of Defense’s Pentagon complex. The 19 hijackers in charge of this were a part of the terrorist group known as al Qaeda. As stated in the Patriot Act, it is “an Act to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.” The attacks that occurred on September 11th are when we recognized a problem arising that we need to take care of.


Relating to the patriot act, occurred the Holder, Attorney General, v. Humanitarian Law Project. The provision was a failure because of it being challenged as unconstitutional for various reasons. 2 being said that it was violating the First Amendment's right to free speech, as well as the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause against vagueness in statutory terms. And with the patriot act becoming official would mean Americans may not agree with the some of the liberties that would be violated in order for more security. Jim Sensenbrenner was the author of the Patriot Act, and a recent quote by him “We have gone to great lengths to ensure our civil liberties are protected without compromising our national security. As the primary author of the Patriot Act, I know the importance of our intelligence gathering authorities, but the law must be used as Congress intended. It’s time to get this done and restore Americans’ trust in their government.” In other words, when formulating and writing the policy was great at the time, he now believes they need to formulate a policy and pass The USA Freedom Act after recognizing the new problem of the government taking away too much of our liberty with their spying.


On October 26th, of 2001, The Patriot Act was passed. Some of the congressmen believed it was necessary to give the president and branches of government the tools to be able to protect our nation from the war on terrorism even if it was giving up some of our liberties. I think they got away with it because of the nation wanting to be secure and have revenge on our enemy after facing the tragic situation of 9/11. President Bush, who was the president at the time of the incident, signed off on the act saying that it would allow us to be safe from future acts of terrorism by giving law enforcement the new powers they’d be granted. It was set to end in 2005, but debates over the situation lead to the reauthorization in March of 2006. The only difference being they changed around some wording and a few very minor changes to continue the Act while attempting to keep the citizens happy.

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After just one month of the Patriot Act being implemented the FBI had arrested over 1,200 people for questioning, which most of them were from middle east or South Asia. If suspected a threat the immigration officials would and could hold individuals for a week. In November of 2001 President Bush had even approved of anyone who was noncitizen suspected of having a relation to al Qaeda shall be held. Without any sort of authorization or warrant law enforcement could demand an individual's records from banks, brokerages, libraries, travel agencies, video stores, telephone services, doctors, and places of worship without the person's knowledge. President Bush also had approved of wiretaps in order to enforce the laws related to the patriot act.


As I was saying before with the policy being reauthorized in 2006, it is an example of the policy being called back for a little bit of change in order for the better even though there wasn’t much of a change with this law. "For the surveillance program, you have to strike the right balance. But FISA was a relic of the Bush years and a warrantless wiretapping program. It was originally conceived to monitor conversations overseas, but it has morphed into something that most American citizens -- left, right and center -- don't recognize and don't approve of."

This is a quote by senator Schatz making a good example of how American citizens are disagreeing with the extent of the law and how it should be reconstructed with corrections to it and re recognize the true problem instead of spying on our privacy and calling it security. Another being "No one is suggesting that we stop our surveillance programs, but it is important to make sure that these are all done within the context of our state's Constitution and the United States Constitution," and I agree with this, we just need to reevaluate the law to what extent they’re taking this to. In the end this is definitely a law made for the better but over the years it’s caused harm to many Americans in the form of making them feel like they’re giving up too much of their liberty for some unneeded security. The American Civil Liberties Union is a big interest group that argues against the Patriot Act and that it doesn’t protect the basic rights given to us in the constitution. A big question with wire-taps and other spying techniques is if what they were and even do to this day is a big question of are they really enforcing the law or are they just invading privacy. Yes the FBI may be enforcing these laws and helping the nation but our president in support of violating some of our privacy and going too far with these laws is never a good image since he is supposed to be our Chief of State. Going against the Patriot Act is a few different arguments in the way that they violate our amendments.

4th Freedom from unreasonable searches: The government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

6th Right to a speedy and public trial: The government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial. 1st Freedom of association: To assist terror investigation, the government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.

6th Right to legal representation: The government may monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.1st Freedom of speech: The government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation. 6th Right to liberty: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. US citizens (labeled "unlawful combatants") have been held incommunicado and refused attorneys.


"Patriot Act 2001." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

"USA PATRIOT Act, Section 215." Government, Politics, and Protest: Essential Primary Sources. Ed. K. Lee Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, and Adrienne Wilmoth Lerner. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 212-215. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

"USA PATRIOT Act." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Sonia Benson, Daniel E. Brannen, Jr., and Rebecca Valentine. Vol. 8. Detroit: UXL, 2009. 1618-1622. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

"Civil Liberties vs. Civil Defense." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Sonia Benson, Daniel E. Brannen, Jr., and Rebecca Valentine. Vol. 2. Detroit: UXL, 2009. 291-297. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Derrick DePledge The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "Votes reflect different ideals on privacy." McClatchy - Tribune Business News. 26 May. 2014eLibrary. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.