The Patriot Act: Pros & Cons

2217 words - 9 pages

The Patriot Act is a controversial law that affects millions of Americans. It was passed right after the September 11, 2001 attacks in response to terrorist acts against the United States. The law increases the powers of law enforcement in order to fight terrorism. Many people feel that the law is needed for the protection of the United States while others think the law gives the government too much power. The controversial issues in the law vary from people debating over security to civil liberties. The Patriot Act changes many existing laws to fight terrorism but it greatly impacts many people. The excessive changes the Patriot Act makes are dangerous to America and should be eliminated. These hazardous changes are on the issues of law enforcement, treatment of detainees, and constitutionality.Post act changes to law enforcement are not effective in stopping terrorists, and therefore make the act useless. If the act is useless then it is not needed and should be done away with.Supporters of the Patriot Act say it is effective in stopping terrorism by preventing future attacks. First, they argue that since the September 11 attacks there have been no reported attacks within the United States ("Updated: USA" 8). This shows how the law is helping to stop terrorism with the states. Second, the law has prevented future terrorist acts before they happen. The law prevented a group of Americans in Portland from joining Al Qaeda in Afghanistan (Jeffrey 6). The group was planning to a terrorist group in order to kill Americans. If they had not been captured then many Americans would have definitely been killed. The Patriot Act prevented this from happening on American soil. Third, the Patriot Act is effective in stopping terrorist activity by deterrence. In the Portland case, wiretaps would have useful in preventing the terrorist group from reaching Afghanistan (Jeffrey 4). The fear of being wiretapped is a big deterrence and helpful in preventing terrorism. Another case that was prevented by the act was the group supporting Al Qaeda in New York ("Updated: USA" 9). The intelligence side of the law helped criminal investigation in this one case. The act helps law enforcement work together by allowing them to share information thus stopping terrorist attacks. These cases highlight how effective the Patriot Act against terrorism.On the other hand, the wrongful accusation of innocent people and abuse of power makes the law ineffective and should be abolished. The opponent's argument about no terrorist attacks since September 11 is a logical fallacy. It is an unknown sample because it is unknown how the sample was picked and if it was biased or not. The opponents could have defined terrorist acts as only major like the World Trade Center bombings and not include smaller ones. First, the case of an innocent person is Brandon Mayfield. Mayfield was linked to a terrorist bombing in Madrid because of wrongly match fingerprints at the crime scene ("National High"...

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