June 6, 2011
The PATRIOT Act
Individual Privacy vs. national security has become a hot topic since Osama bin Laden orchestrated the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001 where over 3,000 Americans lost their lives in a senseless act of terrorism. On May 2, 2011, almost 10 years after the September 11th assault on America, the United States hit a historic milestone with the successful mission that resulted in the killing of the mastermind behind these gruesome attacks. Emotions run high when thoughts of September 11th are discussed. Thousands of families lost mothers, fathers, sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors. Lives were forever changed that day and life as we know it in America will never be the same. Our government saw a need for a change to the way America guards against terrorist attacks and protects the security of our nation. The USA Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. The USA PATRIOT Act was established to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and other purposes” (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, n.d).
There have been countless tragedies caused by man throughout history. The sinking of the ship Titanic, the two World Wars, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the Oklahoma City bombing were all terrible disasters. However, none of these events have created as much hatred and anger in North America than the recent terrorist attack on the United States. On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked ...
“The Act removed the major legal barriers that prevented the law enforcement, intelligence, and national defense communities from talking and coordinating their work to protect the American people and our national security” (USA PATRIOT Act, n.d).
“The Act grants federal officials greater powers to trace and intercept terrorists’ communications both for law enforcement and foreign intelligence purposes. It re-enforces federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations in an effort to deny terrorists the resources necessary for future attacks. It tightens our immigration laws to close our borders to foreign terrorists and to expel those among us. Finally, it creates a few new federal crimes, such as the one outlawing terrorists’ attacks on mass transit; increases the penalties for many others; and institutes several procedural changes, such as a longer statute of limitations for crimes of terrorism” (Doyle, 2002, The USA Patriot Act).
Although there are arguments to suggest that the USA Patriot Act may infringe upon American’s right to privacy, there is enough evidence and countless examples to the contrary proving that the USA Patriot Act has been successful at thwarting numerous terrorist acts since its implementation making the argument that in a time of war, Americans should lower their expectations of personal privacy for the security of our nation.
The President and other law enforcement agencies have the right to access personal information to intercept and identify terrorist threats. Our government has been able to successfully prohibit 30 terrorist acts since the implementation of the PATRIOT act in 2001 (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2010, 30 Foiled Plots) and when it comes to national security, personal privacy gets trumped. Americans pay a high price for the freedom that they have become accustomed to. Thousands of men and women fight daily to protect our country and keep the war out of the United States and on foreign land. The United States currently has 369,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of the September 11th attacks. They understand the cause and thousands have paid the ultimate price for the freedom that is enjoyed in our country. Giving up a little personal privacy is the least we can do to continue to live in a free country.
AMERICANS THAT TERRORIZE AMERICANS With the cold war still thawing out and terrorism on the rise, there is a fear within the borders of the world's greatest nation. This is a new kind of fear, especially in light of the recent attack on the World Trade Center, and even radical solutions are being considered. The United States for the most part of the last fifty years has felt an adequate sense of ...
America wants to be successful in the war against terrorism. Americans do not want the fighting to happen on their doorsteps yet so many will argue that individual privacy is more important than our nation’s security. “The U.S. counterterrorism system has worked successfully in the past, as demonstrated by the foiled plots, and it can work successfully in the future. But continued success requires the White House and Congress to work together to ensure that the military, law enforcement, and intelligence community have the tools they need to defend the country” (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2010, 30 Foiled Plots).
The PATRIOT Act gives government agencies the freedom to use the tools necessary to continue to thwart these heinous terrorist attacks on our country, saving thousands of lives and preserving the American way of life.
Critics of the USA Patriot Act argue that the PATRIOT Act violates American’s civil rights, particularly the First Amendment which protects a person’s right of freedom of speech, as well as the Fourth Amendment which guards against unreasonable search and seizures (Jaeger & Gorham, 2008, National Security Letters).
Critics also argue that if sharing is left unrestricted it could “lead to the development of massive databases about citizens who are not the targets of criminal investigations” (Abramson & Godoy, 2006, The Patriot Act).
government intelligence agencies would be entitled access countless information on any person in the United States, whether directly linked to a terrorist network or not. Other criticisms of the USA Patriot act include theories that roving wiretaps may violate the privacy of innocent individuals who casually interact with suspected terrorists and may lead to guilt by association (Abramson & Godoy, 2006, The Patriot Act).
Confusion about the USA Patriot act has lead to the debate over whether the White House and Congress went too far by passing a law that may threaten American’s civil liberties. “The Patriot Act significantly expanded the power of federal law enforcement by allowing the FBI and CIA to share evidence and by giving terrorism investigators access to evidence-gathering tools that agents in criminal probes have used for years. But for many people, the Patriot Act has become a catch-all phrase for a range of controversial — and unrelated — anti-terrorism policies of the administration. A majority of Americans, for example, mistakenly believe that the act authorizes military tribunals for foreign terrorism suspects and that it calls for the indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” captured in Afghanistan and on U.S. soil. Those policies are based on the president’s war powers in the Constitution” (Locy, 2004, Patriot Act Blurred).
There are many issue with the Patriot Act. Yes it has prevented many attacks on us from terrorists, but would you really want to give up so much freedom in order to have better control of terrorists. Many people would support the act since it does offer more protection against those attacks. Other however, would totally disagree with the act. The Patriot Act is actually violating many of our ...
To date, there have been 30 terrorist attacks prevented since President George Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law in 2001, with six notable terrorist attacks being prevented in 2009 alone, standing to reason that the necessity of the PATRIOT Act is increasing, not decreasing (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman. 2010).
There are countless examples of how the PATRIOT Act has been a success:
In December of 2001, a British national, Richard Reid, hid explosives in his shoes before boarding a flight headed for Miami. He attempted to light the fuse, which would have severely damaged the plane and possibly injured or killed hundreds of passengers. Reid was apprehended by flight attendants and passengers and taken into custody by the FBI after an emergency landing (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2009, Terrorist Watch).
In May of 2003, police in New York learned about a terrorist plan to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge using blowtorches. This would-be terrorist attack was orchestrated by Iyman Faris but was called off after police increased surveillance of the bridge (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2009, Terrorist Watch).
Six men were arrested in May 2007 for planning an attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey. The plan was to attack and kill soldiers with rifles and grenades. “The arrests were made after a 16-month FBI operation that included infiltrating the group. The investigation began after a store clerk alerted authorities after discovering a video file of the group firing weapons and calling for jihad” (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2009, Terrorist Watch).
Abstract Every nation big or small suffers from random acts of violence known as terrorism. Described in this paper is what terrorism is, facts about terrorism, and details concerning one of the most disastrous terrorist attacks that took place in the United States, along with other attacks in both the U.S. and other nations. Several questions will be answered which include: Why is there heavier ...
Christopher Paul was a United States citizen. He joined the Al-Qaeda terrorist network in 1990. He linked to an Islamist terrorist group in Germany and become involved in a terrorist plot to target Americans at various vacation resorts (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2009, Terrorist Watch).
“On May 20, 2009, the New York Police Department announced the arrest of James Cromite, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen for plotting to blow up area Jewish centers and shoot down planes at a nearby Air National Guard Base. The four had attempted to gain access to Stinger missiles and were caught in the act of placing bombs in the buildings and in a car (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman, 2009, Terrorist Watch).
“The discovery of the Zazi plot in September 2009 served as the first in a series of wake-up calls to the nation on the state of national security. Najibullah Zazi was arrested after purchasing large quantities of chemicals from beauty supply stores in a plot to detonate TATP bombs on the New York City subway. This plot was considered extremely serious and was in the later stages of development when Zazi was apprehended—which made the plot deeply troubling to many Americans. Shortly thereafter, in November 2009, were the Fort Hood shootings. This attack, perpetrated by Major Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychologist, was not a foiled plot. Hasan went on a shooting rampage, killing 12 and wounding 31. Evidence demonstrates that he was in communication with al-Qaeda via the Internet before the attack and that the U.S. government had what should have been damaging intelligence on Major Hasan before the incident occurred” (McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman. 2010).
These are just a few of the 30 terrorist plots thwarted since the enactment of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. The number of terrorists out to wreak havoc and destruction on the United States is astounding and the evidence speaks for itself when looking at why it is important to allow government intelligence agencies to obtain information to help protect our nation’s security.
The American Revolution began for many reasons, some are; long-term social, economic, and political changes in the British colonies, prior to 1750 provided the basis for and started a course to America becoming an independent nation under it's own control with its own government. Not a tyrant king thousands of miles away. A huge factor in the start of the revolution was the French and Indian War ...
The terrorist acts of September 11th, 2001 rocked the United States to the core. If the PATRIOT Act had been in place prior to that fateful day, 3000 Americans may still be alive today. If government and intelligence agencies had the tools necessary to gather tips and information on the planned attacks, intercepting viable information about the coordination of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the last decade of American history may have gone very differently. America may not have had to launch the war on terrorism sending thousands of American and International Coalition forces to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based on research on the number of terrorist attacks that have been prevented since the instatement of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, American’s should put their desire for personal privacy aside for the security of our nation. Saving the lives of innocent people should be forefront in the minds of our government and intelligence agencies need access to personal records to continue to prevent these senseless acts. If critics of the USA PATRIOT Act would look at the evidence of all the lives that have been spared as a result of the law President Bush signed into effect and fully understood that the government and intelligence agencies are not out to invade the privacy of American citizens unnecessarily, they may feel differently about the Patriot Act. The number of terrorist attacks that have been prevented since 2001 when the PATRIOT Act was signed into law has been grossly underreported and critics of the Act do not realize what is at stake and how many lives are spared by the information gathered by government agencies. Although there will always be people out there who will criticize the USA PATRIOT Act and claim that their personal privacy rights have been infringed upon, based on the evidence presented and the fact that even if one life has been spared since the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act, it stands to reason that the PATIOT Act was a necessary law enacted at a time of great vulnerability and tragedy. With its continued use, many more terrorist attacks will be prevented and many more lives will be saved. If the United States ever reaches a time of true peace, it may be possible to lessen the stronghold on personal data, but until that day, Americans should realize that the USA PATRIOT Act is a crucial factor protecting our freedom and national security which has been well documented by the number of terrorist attacks interrupted and the number of lives saved in our country.
Business, Political and Social Life in America Fear, power and control are the three forces that have a tremendous influence on social, political and business life in America. Although there are a lot of examples to be found, one of the current examples is the possibility of war with Iraq. Its influence on the aforementioned areas of American life are profound and various, and both three elements ...
Abramson & Godoy, 2006. The Patriot Act: Key Controversies. Retrieved from
Department of Justice. n.d. The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/archive/ll/highlights.htm
Doyle, 2002. The USA PATRIOT Act: A Legal Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL31377.pdf
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, n.d. Retrieved from http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/patriot/.
Jaeger & Gorham, 2008. National Security Letters, the USA PATRIOT Act and the Constitution: the Tensions Between National Security and Civil Rights. Retrieved from Government Information Quarterly, Volume 25, Issue 4.
Locy, 2004. Patriot Act Blurred in the Public Mind. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2004-02-25-patriot-main_x.htm
McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman. 2009. Terrorist Watch: 23 Plots Foiled since 9/11. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/07/terrorist-watch-23-plots-foiled-since-9-11
McNeill, Carafano & Zuckerman. 2010. 30 Terrorist Plots Foiled: How the System Works. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/04/30-terrorist-plots-foiled-how-the-system-worked