The Patriot Act Infringes on American Freedom
September 11, 2001 started off as a beautiful, sunny day, like many other countless days in America; however, it will now be a day that will live on in infamy. As the news played the shot of the planes driving into the sides of the twin towers, fear was driven into the hearts of all Americans. People became panicked and demanded that there be a better way for the United States government to protect its people from any future attacks the terrorist might have planned. This fear was the main contributing factor to the birth of all kinds of new legislation, giving the government new rights to “fight the terrorist.”
The most powerful, and therefore the most controversial, legislation passed by Congress was the U.S. Patriot Act. It was passed on October 26, 2001, and it is an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (Fahrenheit 9/11). It is composed of over 1,000 sections giving the government many new powers that they’ve utilized before in other wartime situations (Lithwick). However, with the war on terrorism Americans are not fighting a clear cut “enemy” and there is no foreseeable end for this war in the near future. Once the immediate fear of another attack calmed down around the nation, people began to realize the rights they were losing to the government that were once granted to them by our founding fathers in the Constitution (Townshend).
There are many sections of the Patriot Act that infringe on the rights of the American people and there is no way for the public to know how the government is using these new found powers; because the Freedom of Information Act requests have been half answered and judiciary committee queries are blown off or classified (Lithwick). Some of the most controversial issues of the Patriot Act include Section 215 which modifies the rules on record searches and allows the FBI to search people’s personal records without consent or knowledge providing that they say the search protects against terrorism (there needs to be no probable cause or evidence). They do not need a warrant to do this and a judge has no authority to reject this application. Other controversial sections of the Patriot...