Freedom in the United States has become increasingly constricted since 2001. Not only did the terrorist attacks of September 11 have a drastic effect on the U.S. economy, but our nation's response has tested the limits of America's core freedoms.
Congress passed the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) in 2001 just weeks after the attacks, with the intention of helping law enforcement act more effectively in investigating potential terrorists.
However, this act may do more harm than good. Some groups, such as the American Library Association, state that the act infringes on Fourth Amendment rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution. Others, however, say that the legislation will help protect citizens from potential terrorist attacks. This essay, written and compiled by students in Presidential Classroom, will investigate the pros and cons of the USA Patriot Act and come to a conclusion about it.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE PATRIOT ACT
Many Americans are in favor of the Patriot Act because they are under the impression that it will increase national security in these perilous times. Supporters state that it reduces terrorists' ability to operate within the United States by allowing law enforcement to access information such as bank statements, library records and emails without notifying individuals of the search. Supporters also claim that the act cultivates cooperation between the FBI and CIA, allowing officials to easily obtain information about individuals suspected to be threats to national security. In this way, the two organizations work together in an unprecedented fashion to thwart criminal activity, including terrorist plots.
Another point for those in favor of the act is its "sunset clause," which only keeps the law in effect until the end of 2005. As the act expires, government officials will review its effectiveness and consequently decide on...
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