Two Minute Patriot Act read through
This is a quick summary/analysis I did for my government class. Requirements were only that it had to be a page long, so I apologize if it's a little bit brief, but I think that it's not a bad read for gaining comprehension of what the Patriot Act is in a very small nutshell; a lot of people get stuck at the wiretapping and enhanced surveillanced measures, and are completely unaware of the other things that the Patriot Act does. Excuse the hastily thrown together analysis of the public's opinion: it had to be done, and I threw it together to complete the asssignment:
The USA Patriot Act
What is it?
The USA Patriot act is actually an acronym which stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” It was introduced in the 1st session of the 107th Congress of the United States of America on October 24, 2001 as H.R. 3162.
Why was it introduced?
The USA Patriot act was introduced as a direct response to the terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, New York on September 11, 2001. It was designed as a bill to hinder the advancement of terroristic ideals and motives throughout the US and the world, and to stop further terrorists attacks on US soil.
How does it work?
The Patriot Act was actually a series of acts, bills, and decrees that were all designed to form a cohesive layer of protection against terrorist attacks. The acts/bills/decrees fall into several subsections outlined in the bill, as listed at htpp://epic.org: Enhancing domestic security against terrorism, Enhanced Surveillance Procedures (wiretapping etc.), International Money Laundering Abatement, Protecting the Border, Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism, Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Increased Intelligence Sharing, Strengthening of Laws Against Terrorism, and Improved General Intelligence.
What was the public’s reaction?
Public reaction was very negative to the Patriot Act. Many Americans believe it to be an unconstitutional violation of their rights as citizens of this country and that it should be repealed immediately. Others believe that the only reason you would have to fear the Patriot Act is if you had something to hide, and therefore the Act should remain in place. Both sides of the argument bring up valid points, yet both have their faults as well.
Those who say that the Patriot Act is an unconstitutional violation of their rights do have some bit of ground to stand on according to the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment states that “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.” It is fairly clear that Title II of the Patriot Act is in direct violation of the 4th amendment as no warrants need be issued to institute a wiretap or other “enhanced” surveillance technology.
However, those that disagree with Title II’s validity must also realize that it is only one small piece of the puzzle that is the Patriot Act. The whole of the Patriot Act is much larger than just Title II. Take for instance Title VII which focuses on the increased sharing of intelligence between US intelligence firms (i.e. FBI, CIA, DHS). Some may argue that if intelligence had been shared to the extent that it is today between the various intelligence offices in this country, 9/11 could have been prevented entirely. This portion alone provides a large amount of security for this country, something that didn’t exist before 9/11. In another example, we take Title III which focuses on International Counter Money Laundering. This section of the Patriot Act focuses on tracking offshore banking accounts through which terrorist organizations finance their operations. By tracking the flow of money, the intelligence bureaus of the US can find out not just who is carrying out the operations, but who is funding them, and where they’re being funded from, all of which is vital to preventing attacks.
The Patriot Act is bigger than Title II. Perhaps Title II is entitled on shaky ground; however, I see no reason to repeal an entire bill worth of quality intelligence acts in the name of one small piece to the puzzle. The time and resources lost restructuring the Patriot Act could prove to be fatal. I challenge the public to look at the whole of the Patriot Act, and not just the Patriot Act (Title II) that is presented to them by the media.