Sana Osman English 20 November 2008 USA Patriot Act 2001 The USA Patriot Act is an acronym to Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (Gross and Aolin 177). The USA Patriot Act 2001 was a result of terrorist attacks which hit America on September 11, 2001. This Act was signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The rationale of making this Act was to prevent and punish terrorist activities around the world. It has provisions to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to use investigatory tools to search emails and telephone communications and reduces the restrictions on foreign intelligence within the United States.
Along with these provisions the USA Patriot Act also offers many more like, it expands the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to regulate financial transactions. It also gives law enforcement and immigration authorities enhanced power to deport and detain immigrants suspected of terrorist activities. It also redefines the word terrorism to include domestic terrorism, which increases the number of terrorist activities to which the Act’s law enforcement powers and be used.
Though the Act had been widely supported by both the Republicans and the Democrats, and was passed by a huge majority in both houses of the Congress, it received a lot of criticism for weakening the protection of civil liberties.
Since its birth in October 2001, the Act has gone through several legal changes and the federal courts have ruled that many of the provisions in the Act are unconstitutional and affect the civil rights of people. Many bills were proposed to amend and make changes to the Act, a few of which were the Protecting the rights if Individuals Act, the Security and Freedom Ensured Act. However, none of these bills were passed.
The USA Patriot Act was finally reauthorized by two bills, the Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006.
The Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 created new provisions related to death penalty for terrorists, new measure to fight the financing of terrorism, new powers for the Secret Services, and many other changes.
The USA Patriot Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006, made amendments to the first reauthorization Act and was passed in February 2006. The reauthorization Act amendment the law, which was considered unlawful, in an attempt to make it lawful. The reauthorization Act provided legal rights of a recipient to challenge the validity of the National Security Letter and for judicial review. Changes were also made to the roving wiretap provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Sections 213, 212 and 207 were also modified. The definition of terrorism was further enhanced and included, receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization and narcoterrorism.
With all the changes and amendments made to the USA Patriot Act of 2001, by the reauthorization Acts in 2005 and 2006, the civil right of the people are in a better position than they were without the changes. The courts have accepted these changes made to the USA Patriot Act, which they thought were unlawful and affected the civil rights of the people.
Gross, Oren and Fionnuala N Aolin. Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Powers in Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2006