April 24, 2008
The Patriot Act
Directly following the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001 congress came up with the Patriot Act. The bill had little congressional resistance and was passed. The USA Patriot act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The acronym stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. This act allows US law enforcement and other agencies the ability to search private communications like e-mail, telephone, and other personal records, in other words it allows our government to spy on us. It also allows law enforcement and immigration authorities to detain and deport immigrants suspected of terrorism. And it includes domestic terrorism as terrorism, which allows a larger number of activities to which the patriot act can be applied. This law weakens the protections of our civil liberties.
Domestic Terrorism is defined as anyone who carries out an act that "appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population [or] to influence the policy of government by intimidation or coercion." The term is so broadly defined that peaceful protest and civil disobedience could be labeled as terrorism.
Civil liberties are freedoms that protect citizens from the government. Our common civil liberties include freedom of speech, religion, association and assembly. The Patriot Act takes away many of our civil liberties. Benjamin Franklin stated:
“They that can give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety”
If Civil Liberties were so important when Benjamin Franklin was alive why have we not protected our own civil liberties? The Fourth Amendment establishes constitutional protection for “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects”. The government knows that this is going on.... [continues]
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