September 18, 2009
Patriot Act, Pros and Cons
The Patriot Act was signed into law by President Bush in response to the tragedy of the events of 9/11. This report explains the issues that warranted this law, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the Patriot Act of 2001.
Passed in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, the law expanded the government's powers in anti-terrorism investigations. And as expected, controversy is always an issue when such laws are passed. The Patriot Act in no exception.
Although the law was designed to counter terrorism within the borders of the United States, some provisions of this law are controversial due to infringements on civil liberties. The following are a list of pros and cons based on information provided by the United States Department of Justice, and ACLU. The Pros:
•Allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror •Law enforcement can conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists •Federal agents ask a court for an order to obtain business records in national security terrorism cases •The Patriot Act facilitates information sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that they can better “connect the dots.” •The Patriot Act reflects new technologies and new threats •Law enforcement officials may obtain a search warrant anywhere a terrorist-related activity occurs The Cons:
•FBI can demand “any tangible thing,” including books, letters, diaries, library records, medical and psychiatric records, financial information, membership lists of religious institutions, and genetic information without your knowledge or consent a. The FBI needs only to tell a judge (no need for evidence or probable cause) that the search protects against terrorism. The judge has no authority to reject this application. •Section 213:
a. It expands the government's ability...