In my senior year at Marygrove College, we had to do what is called Senior Seminar. Senior Seminar we were placed into groups and each group had to do research on a specified topic. The group that I had the pleasure of working with had the topic of Freedom, Privacy, and Security; we chose the Patriot Act as the Policy focus, because it touched on each one. I have listed the names of each person and the particular section that was contributed. This is not the full content of research that was conducted; I pulled out the pertinent details I thought was necessary. However if you are interested in reading the full research article, I will be more than happy to share with you.
1. Policy Described (Sarah Ocker)
The U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, or Patriot Act) is a prime example of Congressional legislation that has affected the safety, freedom, and privacy of people of the United States and many other countries. Sold as a way to make our nation more secure, it is a controversial, anti-terrorist measure that Congress signed it into law in 2001. According to the Department of Justice, the stated purpose for enacting the Patriot Act was …”to preserve the lives and liberty of the American people from the challenges posed by a global terrorist network” (Department of Justice, [n.d], para. 5). The Patriot Act reformed specific governmental operating procedures that hindered their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland. In November of 2002, the Federal Government created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement and enforce the new policies created by the passage of the Patriot Act. The department’s stated purpose is to oversee and unify national security efforts. According to the DHS, their specific mission is to “prevent terrorism and enhance security; secure and manage our borders; enforce and administer our immigration laws; safeguard and secure cyberspace; and ensure resilience to disasters” (Department of Homeland Security, [n.d.], para. 4). The new policies were implemented by widening the scope of power given to the Executive branch of the U.S. Federal government. This allowed for a great amount of latitude to carry out the policies.
2. Formulation of Policy Sponsors/Cosponsors (Shelia McKinney)
The USA PATRIOT Act was introduced on October 23, 2011, by Representatives James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. and Michael G. Oxley (The Library of Congress, 2001). The key players for the policy were Congress and the Administration. The policy was supported unanimously because of the September 11, 2001, attacks. On their website The Department of Justice states that the purpose for The PATROIT Act, “the policy was designed to protect innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists destroying America and our way of life” (Department of Justice, n.d.).
4. Benefits (Shelia McKinney)
Social. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Americans were in a state of panic. Their sense of security diminished and life, liberty, and happiness seem to be a thing of the past. As it appeared, many Americans did not feel safe on U.S. soil any longer. According to the Department of Justice the USA PATRIOT Act, was to preserve the lives and liberty of the American people from the challenges posed by a global terrorist network (Appalachian State University online, 2014).
5. Costs (Marquetta Turner)
The cost of the Patriot Act economically supports and gives the government full range of control over the United States citizens. It contradicts and/or conflicts with other constitution rights of the United States citizens. It is monetary gain for the government, military and programs such as Homeland Security. The same benefits that support our government are taking a toll on the citizens emotionally. Emotionally when it comes to the safety and security of our lives and loved ones we trust our government to make the best decisions for the majority, but the majority is never heard and that causes an emotional strain. Although the Patriot Act is supposed to work in the citizen’s benefit of protection from terrorist etc., it is the same policy that is violating our human and civil rights. It bears a lot of room for laws to be distorted, misinterpreted, and abused, which does damage the citizens emotionally. The government is allowed to get away with this, because of propaganda usage.
2. Effectiveness (Marquetta Turner)
The policy is set to protect United States citizens against terrorism. It works to help lower crime. However the cost of that protection is allowing the government to single us out without probable cause. The cost is allowing the government to tap into our telephones. The cost is allowing the government to come into our home without warrants, permission, or without Miranda rights being read. The Patriot Act allows the government to tap into third party companies, organizations, and businesses in the name of national security. We want to be protected, we want freedom, and we want privacy, but all those are being violated by governments Patriot Act.
A few facts about the Patriot act.
- Section 213 sometimes called a sneak and peak, it means that a court can approve a search warrant. They can come in when you are not home, search your house and download contents of your computer and not tell you.
- You are arrested, and you don’t know why? Under the new immigration policies, you are on your own.
- Section 215 of the patriot act states government can easily obtain bank records, computer records, medical records, library records and even book store records, especially Social Media- just to name one facebook Messenger.
- The government is consistently trying to undermine the remaining protection of the 4th amendment provides.
- Thousands of students are brought in to speak to the FBI without any assumption of guilt at all. Visits of many Arab organizations by the FBI without any reason.
- One of the disturbing aspects of the patriot act is that it institutionalizes the discrimination against immigrants.
- It is estimated that 85% of the cases currently prosecuted under the patriot act are not related to terrorism.
- The patriot act has given the government vast new powers in the way terrorism is defined and lets them use them for almost any crime.
- Stop and frisk laws are also a part of Patriot Act
This all violates our freedom, security, and privacy
What are your thoughts?
Columnist/Enticing Resultz Magazne