Contemporary World Issues

USA PATRIOT ACT

Providing Appropriate Tools Required
to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism


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On this page, you will learn about the USA PATRIOT ACT and its political implications.

The USA PATRIOT Act was enacted on October 26, 2001 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The legistlation was enacted to ease the strain on government officials to aquire intelligence, foreign and domestic, on terrorism and its counterparts. The Patriot Act gives the government access to medical, financial, and bank records, computer communication, oral communication (via wiretaps), as well as numerous other private records.

Legistlation Amended by the PATRIOT Act

The USA PATRIOT Act amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA, enacted on October 25, 1978. The amends made to FISA through the PATRIOT Act expands the use of surveillance on terrorist groups and organizations that arent backed by a foreign government.

The PATRIOT Act also amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act or ECPA, enacted on October 21, 1986. The purpose of the ECPA is to extend restrictions made on unauthorized government collection of private electronic communications. The PATRIOT Act weakens ECPA and the restrictions it places on intelligence gathering and surveillance. In 2004, in the case of ACLU v. Ashcroft, the Supreme Court ruled section 2709 of the ECPA unconstitutional, in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union. The decision made by the Supreme Court said that the use of National Security Letters (NSLs), an administrative subpoena issued by various agencies in the government, most commonly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violated amendments one and four of the Constitution.

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Sources

One Hundred Seventh Congress, "H. R. 3162." U.S. Government Printing Office. 26 Oct 2001. U.S. Government. 23 Sep 2008 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_bills&docid=f:h3162enr.txt.pdf.

Keefe, Mike"Cartoons." InToon. 13 Mar 2006. Mike Keefe. 25 Sep 2008 http://www.intoon.com/cartoons.cfm

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