The USA Patriot Act
The United States of America is a country that is based upon a principle of balancing the rights of an individual, while still preserving public order. The U.S. Constitution (specifically the Bill of Rights) guarantees every American certain Individual rights. Some of these rights include; freedom from unreasonable search and seizures, a right to due process of law, and protection against cruel and unusual punishment (The 4th, 5th and 8th Amendments). Historically the criminal justice system has preserved these rights of peopled accused of crimes. However on September 11, 2001, the United States became the victim of the largest terrorist attack the World has ever seen. According to Schmalleger in 2003, that attack cost almost three thousand people their lives, and an estimated two trillion dollars in damages. However since September 11 2001, several critics have claimed that the United States of America no longer protects these rights. They argue that the United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001, violates the rights of suspected terrorists, and those of every single American. Supporters of the USA PATRIOT Act argue that the bill has been vital in arresting suspected terrorists, and it has helped deter future terrorist attacks.
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism ACT of 2001, was signed into law on October 26, 2001, shortly after the September 11th attacks. The act was passed in a direct response to the attacks, as a way for Law Enforcement to combat and deter terrorism. Schmalleger (2003) on page 8 summarizes the USA PATRIOT ACT. ?A federal law (Public Law 107-56) enacted in response to terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurring on September 11, 2001. The Law, officially titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, substantially broadens the investigative authority of Law enforcements agencies throughout America and is applicable to many crimes other than terrorism.?
Shmalleger (2003) in pages 300-301 further listed specific sections of the act that law enforcement can use to investigate terrorist activities. ?Title II-Enhanced Surveillance Procedures Sec. 203. Authority to share Criminal Investigative Information. (b) Authority to share electronic, wire, and oral interception information. (6) Any investigative or law enforcement officer, or attorney for the Government, who by any means authorized by this chapter, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, or evidence derived there from, may disclose such contents to any other Federal Law Enforcement , intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official to the extent that such contents...