The Patriot Act was enacted in October 2001 shortly after attacks from terrorists on the United States on September 11, 2001. The act gives Federal officials and state agencies greater authority and tools to investigate and track suspected terrorists with the goal of bringing them to trial.
The attacks on the United Stated on September 11, 2001 were planned and carried out by 19 people affiliated with the al-Qaeda network. This group hijacked four commercial airlines with the intent to crash them into government and civilian buildings on the East coast. Terrorist crashed one into each of the two world trade center towers in New York City, a third was crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the fourth was believed to target either the White House, the U.S. Capitol, or Camp David was crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania following a passenger rebellion (Wikipedia, April 2005).
The attacks on the United States had major political effects across the globe. The attacks also had a profound impact on the citizens of the United States. Nearly half of the population wanted the United States Government to put an end to terrorism (Patriot Act Overview, Nov 2004). United States Congress enacted the Patriot Act in response to the terrorist attacks that took place in September 2001.
The Patriot Act includes two very powerful tools to prevent future terrorist attacks. The first is information sharing provisions that allows the Department of Homeland Security to go on the offense "to substantially expand America's information-sharing capabilities" (Ridge, Nov 2004). Increased collaboration between federal and state agencies is a critical concept of cooperation across all levels of the federal and state government. The second is investigative tools to identify, apprehend, and stop terrorists before they can complete their objectives. Tools to assist the Federal Air Marshals, Border Patrol officers, the United States Coast Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are needed to keep one step ahead in deterring any and all plans of terrorist groups trying to attack the United States. "The tools of the Patriot Act are vital to our ability to prevent terrorist attacks" (Ridge, Nov 2004). An Overview
The Patriot Act is a lengthy piece of legislation containing over 150 sections and amends over 15 federal statutes. Amended statutes include laws governing criminal procedure, wire tapping, immigration, computer fraud, and foreign intelligence (Wikipedia, April 2005). The Act also incorporates previous foreign intelligence acts including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Main topics of the Act include: Criminal Investigations: Tracking and Gathering Communications
Foreign Intelligence Investigations
Impact on Libraries
Impact on Businesses
(Patriot Act Overview, Nov 2004)
Under criminal investigations, the tracking and gather of communications include governing court orders approving the governments use of trap and trace devices which identify the source and destination of calls made to and from telephones, computers, email, and radio communications. The orders are based on the government's certification that the use of such a device will produce information relevant to any crime. (Patriot Act Overview, Nov 2004)
The Patriot Act eases many of the restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering that were previously in place. However, the Patriot Act also expands safeguards against official abuse.
Money laundering is defined as the practice of engaging in financial transactions in order to conceal the identity, source and destination of the money in question (Wikipedia, 2005). Terrorist organizations use money laundering to conceal where funds are coming from in order to support terrorist activities. The Patriot Act expands the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to regulate the activities of U.S. financial...
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