Term Paper: US Patriot Act

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USA Patriot Act

The purpose of this paper is to research the "USA Patriot Act" and examine exactly what the implications are in the implementation of this act should another terrorist event such as 911 occur.

Restrictive laws have been passed at crucial times in the history of the United States before the passing of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. Although the laws within this Act are intrusive upon the privacy of United States Citizens, there are those who do not mind the restrictiveness of the Act in exchange for safety. This is understandable to a certain extent however one must keep in mind that the Constitutional rights vested in each individual in the United States has been tread upon to a great extent by the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

Disempowerment of the U.S. Constitution:

One example is the steps that have been taken in searching homes and offices without rendering prior notice, the use of roving wiretaps listening in on telephone conversations, monitoring computers and mail and all of this being done without the benefit of a warrant signed by a judge who has been convinced that there is a need of this type action in a specific case. The random violation of the rights of privacy vested in the individual's Constitutional rights has never seen the scope of what the U.S.A. Patriot Act has deemed to be legal. For the sake of security the minor liberties being taken with our liberty may culminate in larger compromises than the individual originally conceived to be worth the giving up of.

II. Centralization of Law Enforcement

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, or the U.S.A. Patriot Act was passed on October 26, 2001 by Congress and signed by President Bush the exact same day. The Act is written in ten parts and exceeds 300 pages in length. The Justice Department stated the following regarding the Act:

Within hours of passage of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, we made use of its provisions to begin enhanced information sharing between the law-enforcement and intelligence communities. We have used the provisions allowing nationwide search warrants for e-mail and subpoenas for payment information. And we have used the ACT to place those who access the Internet through cable companies on the same footing as everyone else."

III. Expansion of Scope: Terrorism & Domestic Terrorism

While assuring us that the only one needing to fear the new authority is the terrorist it is almost as if somehow the individual begins to hear themselves in the description being provided for defining a terrorist. Chapter 113B of the Criminal Code, 18 U.S.C. Section 2331 added a new definition of "domestic terrorist" defined by involvement in activities that:

A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State:

B) appear to be intended-

I) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

II) to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

D) Disregard the constitutional Right of Resident Non-Citizens:

The Supreme Court affirmed that the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of due process and access to a jury trial in criminal matters apply to all 'persons' and those 'accused' in criminal cases, not to citizens only.

IV. The Sedition Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 2384 provides that;

If two or more persons in any State of Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force… [END OF PREVIEW]

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