American Civil Liberties are NOT Violated by the Patriot Act

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American Civil Liberties are NOT Violated by the Patriot Act

As we face the threat of terrorism, how do we protect ourselves without hurting our freedoms? Today, terrorism is a major threat to our homeland security and has become increasingly more prevalent and difficult to monitor with the public's accessibility to communication and information through today's technology. Terrorists are now able to communicate more freely with recent technological advances. In an effort to combat this new threat, the government passed the Patriot Act, which was created to relieve some of the difficulties of monitoring communications and activities of the public so the government can easily detect terrorist activity. In response to the
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government, and we can't afford to have people lose their lives because part of the information is in one department and part is in another department and they are not talking to each other" (Frank, 2002, p. 1505).

The Patriot Act expands the "pen register" statute to include electronic communications and Internet usage, which was previously limited to tracing of telephone numbers called by suspect criminals (Olsen, 2001). In addition, this act allows the government to obtain warrants to examine what people read in libraries and bookstores from records on what a person checks out or buys. Moreover, the law allows the government to detain or deport suspects of terrorism as well as monitor financial transcripts and electronic records. Recently, the federal court ruled to expand the use of wiretaps and other surveillance techniques in tracking suspected terrorists under the Patriot Act. The main part of the ruling is removing previously existing legal barriers between the FBI and the Justice Department investigators, prosecutors and law enforcement personnel (Fox, November 2002).

Those opposed to the Patriot Act claim that it takes away our civil liberties and basic rights afforded under the Constitution. Many argue that the bill was rushed through Congress and never gave members time to go over it or interpret it (Demmer, 2002). According to one representative who voted against the bill, the bill was never available to him to read before the
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