USA PATRIOT Act Turns Ten

Great Seal of United States




Today, October 26, 2011, is the tenth anniversary of former President Bush’s signing of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. Known more familiarly as the “Patriot Act”, it lessened the restrictions governing the search of citizens’ records, granted greater powers to law enforcement and immigration officials with non-citizens suspected of terrorism related activities and expanded the definition of “terrorism”. It was five months ago that President Obama signed a four year extension on three key provisions of the act which cover roving wiretaps, searches of financial records of businesses and surveillance of individuals suspected of activities related to terrorism but not to terrorist groups per se. As the Patriot Act attempts to balance the nation’s security needs with the rights of the individual, its interpretation has sometimes proven to be controversial. NPR marked the passing of this anniversary with a story entitled, “As It Turns 10, Patriot Act Remains Controversial”, for its flagship “Morning Edition” program. Click here for the audio link.

The following select and varied titles are available through the Homeland Security Digital Library: “Terrorism Legislation: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001” [Updated October 26, 2001] from the Congressional Research Service; the Department of Justice’s “Report from the Field: The USA Patriot Act at Work”; “Patriot Act Reader: Understanding the Law’s Role in the Global War on Terrorism” from the Heritage Foundation; “Statement on Reforming the Patriot Act: A Report by the Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee” and “Patriot Act and Civil Liberties: A Closer Look”

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4370