The Patriot Act, Is it Worth Our Privacy?

Essay by jvincent001University, Master's October 2006

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States of America was attacked by one of the most violent acts of terrorism this country has ever seen. Nineteen terrorists affiliated with the Al-Queda Terrorist Organization hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The teams consisted of three to four hijackers including a trained pilot. Two of the airliners, United Flight 175 and American Flight 11 were used as missiles and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, one plane hitting each tower. American Flight 77, also used as a missile, was used to crash into the Pentagon in Virginia. Passengers and crew of the fourth flight, United Flight 93, attempted to retake control of the airliner; however, the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. A total of 2,973 individuals plus the nineteen hijackers lost their lives that morning. Shortly after the events of September 11, Congress passed what is now known as the USA Patriot Act.

The USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) which was admitted into law on October 26, 2001 contains 158 sections and amends more than fifteen federal statutes. Some provisions of the USA Patriot Act include:

* relaxed restrictions on information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence agencies about suspected terrorists

* knowingly harboring terrorists is considered illegal

* authorized use of wiretaps to tap any phone a suspected terrorist might use

Other provisions are as follows:

* the federal government is allowed to keep any non-U.S. citizen suspected of terrorist acts for up to seven days without charges

* government may view e-mail records of terrorist suspects

* tripled the number of Border Control officials, Customs Service Inspectors, and Immigration and Naturalization Service inspectors at the northern border of the...