The Patriot Act Is Unconstitutional Essay

2885 words - 12 pages

The Patriot Act was established after the tragedy of September, 11, 2001 in a moment of weakness. It gave unprecedented and unnecessary powers to intelligence agencies under the wide umbrella of national security. The Patriot Act has used an “us vs them” mentality as well as pro-American propaganda to accomplish its goals. This new authority of the intelligence agencies has gone too far, is unjustified, unconstitutional, and infringes on the privacy of the American people, as well as others in the world. The Patriot Act should be weakened in order to preserve the rights of the American people and to reaffirm to the world that the U.S will not tolerate violations of human rights.
On September, 11th, 2001, the United States faced the largest terrorist attack in its history. Over 3,000 innocent civilians lost their lives due to a terrorist attack. This attack gave Americans the one thing that has always had the ability to unite them: a common enemy. As such, 45 days after the attack, the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” ("The USA Patriot"), USA PATRIOT act, was signed into law with 98 votes of support in the Senate and 357 votes of support in the house, with 67 votes in descent total. Many Congressmen who signed the bill “now say they did not even read it before voting in favor” ("The USA Patriot"). A version of the bill had already gone through committee and was approved by the ACLU, however, that was not the version of the bill presented to Congress. The compromises made were removed when the author of the bill as told, “If you don't pass the original bill... the next terrorist attack will be on your shoulders”. This type of threatening has allowed the USA Patriot Act to be far too powerful. ("The USA Patriot") When the law was passed, the purpose was stated as “to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes”. The other purposes section of that is incredibly vague, modifying laws concerning money laundering, education, financing, credit reporting, computer fraud, electronic communications, and others ("The USA Patriot").
One section of the Patriot Act pertaining to the NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden is an amendment to FISA Act of 1978, increasing surveillance authority by allowing the collection of "certain business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations" (“Uniting and Strengthening”). This gave the NSA and other intelligence agencies a broad authority to collect data from corporations. This has been “intentionally and willfully abused”, with some workers spying on lovers, ex-lovers, and others, “for practice”, “out of curiosity”, and other “reasons”. There have been no reported employee terminations due to this (Moyer).
It wasn't just family, friends or ex-lovers that the NSA agents had the...

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