After the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, a controversial piece of legislation was adopted and passed called the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The title for this bill is an acronym for "the United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" (USA Patriot Act). In the years since the passing of the Patriot Act, there has been much controversy and debate regarding the positive and negative advantages, and consequences of this bill. As a member of the law enforcement community I have experienced firsthand some of the changes the Patriot Act has brought upon this nation. A result of this experience along with information obtained in the studying of this act and consequences, has led me to believe in this bill as a means for fighting terrorism against the United States of America.
The Patriot Act was designed to help law enforcement in the fight against future terrorist attacks. A very important ingredient in this is the gathering and development of intelligence information. A positive advantage of the provisions within the Patriot Act is the expansion of surveillance powers. This allows the federal government to intercept and monitor many different forms of communication in their quest to combat terrorism. An example of this would be the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) development and use of digital intercepting programs such as "Carnivore". This program allowed the FBI to intercept, record, and organize digital communications such as computer emails. The FBI appeared to have retired the carnivore program in 2002, as they turned to commercial products instead but this provision within the Patriot Act allows for better monitoring of terrorist activities before an attack takes place (Poulsen, 2005).
Another positive advantage of the Patriot Act is the requirement for intelligence sharing among the different law enforcement entities. Information sharing between the federal...
References: Bender, Bryan (2004, July). AG touts patriot act; opponents unconvinced. The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 27, 2006, from http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/07/14/ag_touts_patriot_act
Poulsen, Kevin (2005, January). FBI retires its carnivore. SecurityFocus. Retrieved May 28, 2006, from http://www.securityfocus.com/news/10307.
The USA-PATRIOT Act and the American response to terror; can we protest civil liberties after September 11? (panel discussion) (2002). In American Criminal Law Review, 39, p1501(33). Retrieved May 18, 2006, from InfoTrac OneFile via Thomson Gale.
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