The USA PATRIOT Act By: Nick Pollio
Patriot • “one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests” Question: Is the USA PATRIOT Act “patriotic”? Is it in our interests?
USA PATRIOT Act • Stands for: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”
USA PATRIOT Act • What is the purpose of the act?
PATRIOT facts • Signed into law on October 26, 2001 • (45 days after 9/11/2001) • Overwhelmingly passed and bi-partisan • (98 to 1 in Senate • (357 to 66 in House) • 342 pages long
PATRIOT facts • Changes a dozen laws • Reads like a computer manual • “Wrong bill” (changed before the vote) • No conference report
PATRIOT benefits • sharing of information between government agencies • including FBI • CIA, local law enforcement • and immigration
PATRIOT benefits • Easier to “connect the dots” • information about potential terrorist threats
PATRIOT benefits • Increases funding to patrol and secure… • Northern border of the United States
PATRIOT benefits • Permits rewards to combat terrorism • provides funding fortraining of firefighters • and for other first responders
PATRIOT benefits • Increases ability to interceptterror plans
PATRIOT fears • Gives access to…
PATRIOT fears … like buying a book from Amazon.com?
PATRIOT fears Must have "A significant purpose”
PATRIOT fears • Intended for use in non-terrorist crimes. • Against American citizens
PATRIOT fears • Forbids librarians and business owners • Also employees from informing people • That their records havebeen seized
PATRIOT fears Allows…
PATRIOT fears Permits (“sneak and peak warrants”)
PATRIOT fears Permits…
PATRIOT fears Allows…
PATRIOT fears Creates “domestic terrorism”
PATRIOT realities • No one outside of Justice Dept. knows how it is really being used • Vigorously defended by Attorney General
PATRIOT realities • Website claims great successes (www.lifeandliberty.gov) • Justice Dept. report provides some evidence (July 2004 -- Report from the Field: The USA PATRIOT Act at Work) http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot/doj_report.pdf
PATRIOT realities • Being used for non- terrorist crimes against Americans Settle down!
PATRIOT realities • Law enforcement mislead FISA Court at least 75 times • Law enforcement visiting libraries • Law enforcement monitoring, spying on, infiltrating peace groups
PATRIOT backlash • 389 towns and counties and 7 states passed resolutions to modify law (62 million Americans) • National League of Cities passed resolution to modify law (245 million Americans)
PATRIOT backlash • House voted 309-118 to withdraw funding for “sneak and peak” warrants (9-4 in NC) • Sanders-Paul-Conyers-Otter-Nadler Amendment to 2005 spending bill defeated in tie (210-210)*** *** original vote was 219-201 to pass bill
PATRIOT backlash • SAFE Act supported by a diverse group of liberal and conservative groups (ACLU, ACU, ALA, GOA) • Major conservatives against law (Bob Barr, Dick Armey, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich)
PATRIOT backlash • 95% of criminal justice experts say law passed too quickly • 74% say law threatens civil liberties • 68% believe that existing laws could be leveraged to protect the nation from terrorism
PATRIOT backlash • Federal Judge Audrey Collins declared Section 805 unconstitutional (Jan. 23, 2004) • Federal Judge Victor Marrero declared Section 505 unconstitutional (Sept. 29, 2004)
PATRIOT backlash • Federal Judge Audrey Collins declared Section 805 unconstitutional again! (Jul. 29, 2005) • Judge Janet Hall lifted a gag order that had been imposed on a librarian by the FBI under the USA PATRIOT Act. (September 9, 2005) • US Chamber of Commerce wrote letter to Senate Judiciary Committee to revise Sections 215 and 505 (October 4, 2005)
A Final Thought … “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”