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PATRIOT ACT College - Essay Example

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The USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) entered the new millenium of America as an outcome to the catastrophic, cunning and devastated terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001…
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PATRIOT ACT College Essay
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Section 802 of the Act creates a new federal crime of "domestic terrorism," which includes any dangerous acts that "appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion." Broadly applied, this could be used to silence any political dissent critical of government policies. The Act refers to all those efforts helpful in the eradication of "terrorism attacks" by military tribunals, the attorney-client stuff and the people being held on secret charges whose names are kept undeclared.
Section 411 of the Act expands the term "engage in terrorist activity" to include any use of a weapon, as well as such nonviolent acts as fund-raising for suspect organizations. Moreover, it allows for the detention or removal of non-citizens with little or no judicial review. The U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of State can claim a domestic group to be a terrorist organization, and can deport any non-citizen members. Because of this provision the Government has to trade off the rights and liberties of a vulnerable minority, immigrants, in particular Arab and Muslim immigrants, for the purported security of the rest of the U.S citizens. And just to give a little specificity to this, the PATRIOT Act makes immigrants deportable for wholly innocent associations. Before the PATRIOT Act, if you were investigating someone for a crime, you had to show probable cause of criminal activity in order to get that wiretap or in order to conduct that search. Under the PATRIOT Act, the government can avoid the probable cause requirement and do an end run by going the foreign intelligence route, which does not require probable cause of a crime. All they have to do is show the person as an agent of a foreign power. However the Provision is in favour of security of USA citizens but it is going to be used almost exclusively against immigrants, and it's not in any way, shape, or form limited to terrorist investigations or terrorist crimes.
C. Diminished Privacy
The Act severely curtails the right to privacy at several turns, including broadening the grounds for increased surveillance and wiretap authority, sneak-and-peek searches, tracking Internet usage and accessing private records. As a powerful tool in fighting terrorism the law enforcement community used this Bill as a way of expanding their powers far beyond the war against terrorism. One example is "sneak and peek provision," which allows the government to conduct secret searches of anyone, including citizens, without notifying the person that they have a search warrant and that the search is authorized. The provision allows the government to delay notification for a reasonable period of time upon showing the court that notifying the individual would jeopardize the criminal investigation, a very broad standard that probably could be met in a tremendous number of cases and is not limited to fighting terrorism in any way, shape or form.
D. Lowering Standards of Probable Cause
Section 215 of the Act reduces the traditional Fourth Amendment requirements for probable cause, as previously interpreted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA") which was initially enacted in 1978 and was itself ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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