The Patriot Act
The word “Patriot” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is one who maintains and defends his countries freedoms and rights. The word conjures up images of men fighting to protect their home land and their rights as citizens. It is a word synonymous with bravery and honor and respect. The USA patriot acct was signed into law in October of 2001 by President Bush in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is an acronym that stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” (Fritscher article). So it doesn’t really make sense that they would use this word as the title of this bill. It sounds well and good in theory but when the facts are presented it is quite the opposite.
One provision of this act is that the government can enter someone’s home or business and search through their things without even ...view middle of the document...
This act was only supposed to be temporary but in May 2011 President Obama signed extensions on a few of the provisions. These include: roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of lone wolves.
These provisions might not sound too bad but the roving wiretaps allow the government to tap into any and every device that a person under suspicion might use. So no matter who the person is, who they are talking to, the government could be listening. That means that if somebody is under investigation and somebody else just talks to them on the phone for any reason, they would probably become suspect as well just for having an association with the person under original suspicion.
The records provision is probably the most controversial. It allows investigators to obtain "any tangible thing including books, records, papers, documents and other items," as long as the records are sought "in connection with" a terror investigation (NPR website). The government does point out that Americans first amendment rights are specifically protected and that this provision has never been used on a bookstore or a library. This doesn’t make anybody feel any better because what is to stop them from doing it in the future.
The final provision that was extended was the highly controversial “lone wolf” provision. This provision allows the government to take in citizens suspected of being a “lone wolf”. A lone wolf is a person unaffiliated with terror groups and who is working alone. This provision gives the government the authority to detain persons without even having legitimate probable cause. After this "lone wolf" provision, a target can be considered an "agent of a foreign power" without any evidence that they are acting with a group (DeRosa summary) .They can just do whatever they want as long as the end justifies the means.
The Patriot Act is a good idea and the government should have some sort of anti-terror acts but it shouldn’t cause civilians to potentially be stripped of their rights in an attempt to be protected. Perhaps the laws should just be allowed to sunset as they were intended to be several years ago.