The Patriot Act

An overview of both sides of the debate of the Patriot Act, with a focus on the benefits it has for fighting terrorism.

The paper examines the controversy of the Patriot Act and answers many of the myths claiming that it infringes on people’s civil liberties. The author discusses how this law has been a vital tool in helping to fight terrorism. It shows how, previously, governments agencies did not work together to share information and now, as a result, of the Patriot Act, agencies are exchanging information, which is key to preventing terrorist attacks. This paper, therefore, argues that, although certain sectors of the population may feel that the Patriot Act affects their civil rights, in general, the Act assists in protecting the country.
One of the most vocal critics of the Patriot Act is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Their biggest objection of the Act is to Section 215, which permits agents to seek business records by showing a judge that this information is required to help a terrorism investigation. Under Section 215 the FBI does not have to show probable cause of wrongdoing to obtain a warrant, as is required in other criminal cases. The ACLU contends that Section 215 is unconstitutional because it gives the FBI the ability to spy on and track everyday protest groups such as the National Rifle Association, Operation Rescue and Greenpeace, simply because they can be considered domestic terrorism groups.