Essay Preview: Patriot Act
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Many people would argue that their individual rights are slowing being taken away. For example, six weeks after terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 occurred, law enforcement agencies were granted expanded powers of surveillance such as being able to use wire taps and conduct internet surveillance. This lead many American citizens to believe that they loss their right to privacy. However, the Patriot Act which gives law enforcement officials these expanded powers were created to help fight against terrorism and protect our society from evil. So, many people argue that there are positives such as increasing or public safety , giving law enforcement officials the appropriate tools to intercept and obstruct terrorism (internet surveillance, wire taps), and fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism. However, there are many others that believe that the Patriot Act has affected their civil liberties by ways such as, losing
their rights to privacy ( officials can listen in on conversations, obtain sensitive financial and medical records) and some of their 4th amendment rights in a way. The Patriot Act authorizes an end run around the Fourth Amendment by allowing the government to conduct wiretaps and searches in criminal investigations, without probable cause of a crime, as long as the government claims to that it is seeking foreign intelligence (Auriana, 2004, pg 165). In addition to that, many people argue that it is not fare it is not fare that many South Asian and Middle Eastern men were detained with little or no explanation in wake of the September 11th attacks ( Torr, 2004, pg 39). So, today I am going to take through these controversial issues and see what some of the advantages and disadvantages the general public feel there are with the Patriot Act.
I believe one of the positives of the Patriot Act of 2001 is improving our
homeland security which in-turns increases our public safety. After the September 11th
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attacks, many people believe it clearly showed our nation that we need improve our
national security at the expense of some of our civil liberties. Because of the Patriot Act, law enforcement officials now have basically unlimited powers to investigate terrorist crimes. Now they can effectively utilize wiretaps and surveillance methods such as internet surveillance to track down terrorist and prevent them from conducting further acts. In addition to that, because of the of the Patriot Act, officers can use search warrants to expedite seizing voice mails(in criminal cases, including foreign and domestic) which they use to have spend a lot of time trying to acquire wiretap orders to access these emails. Now law enforcement officials have the tools and powers to use efficiently without violating anybodys rights. Nevertheless, I believe that these enhancements will help bring more terrorist into justice for the crimes they attempt or actually commit.
Another advantage that the Patriot Act gives to law enforcement officials are the ability to prevent money laundering. For example, In the Article ” How Patriotic is the Patriot Act” by Mitali Kalita, asserts that money laundering is one of the largest industry at $1 trillion dollars annually. However, with the Patriot Act, it helps detect and limit money laundering that can be used for things like drug trafficking. The Patriot Act now requires banks and other similar organizations to monitor their customers behavioral patterns that might affect national security in anyway. If banks and other organizations fail to comply with the Patriot Acts regulations on money laundering , they can be fined up to one million dollars.
Law Enforcement Officials now have a more effective tool to prevent terrorist financing. Title III of the Patriot Act provides law enforcement with important new authority to investigate and prosecute the financing of terrorism ( Torr, 2004, pg 39). Basically, because of the Patriot Act, law enforcement officials can seize terrorist assets
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(domestic or foreign) if the property is involved in or supports any acts of domestic or international terrorism. Furthermore, it is also a crime if a person passes their own knowledge or expertise off to terrorist or similar groups whether or not they intended for terrorist acts to actually occur. Many people believe that this effective tool that will put a big burden on terrorist and the people involved with them, as slowly by slowly, all of their funds will be seized. Even though the Patriot Act is known as one of the most strictest measures by any government today, it helps trace and limit financial assets that help and contribute towards terrorist activities.
There is currently a controversy surrounding the issue of people believing that their right to privacy are getting violated because of the Patriot Act. For example, many people argue that getting their baggage searched at the airport is a violation of their privacy. In addition that, many people argue that law enforcement officials can eavesdrop onto their internet communications and phone communications (attorney-client communications without a court order – suspects falling under the military tribunal order, etc) and they are allowed to conduct criminal investigations without having to show evidence of a crime (Auriana, 2004, pg 161). Many people argue that it definitely seems that slowly by slowly, we are losing
the very freedoms that we our fighting for on the war on terrorism. Many people argue when we think of America, we think of freedom, not a country that eavesdrops on phone conversations, emails and or searches your house at any time for any reason. Furthermore, people do not like the fact that the Patriot Act enables law enforcement officials the ability to access personnel records such as medical and financial a lot easier