The "USA Patriot Act" titled "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001" is a sweeping Bill signed by President Bush on October 24, 2001, to "deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes."
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
A national crisis, such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, immediately encourages a 'do something' reaction in politicians of every stripe. The greater the crisis, the swifter -- and more unthinking -- the solution politicians concoct.
At such times, a herd mentality takes hold that overcomes logic and reason. Having served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, I can attest first hand to this dangerous political phenomenon. Just six weeks after the September 11th attacks, on October 26, 2001, a panicked U.S. Congress adopted the so-called 'USA PATRIOT Act.'
The PATRIOT Act became law with great haste and secrecy. In the name of the 'war on terrorism,' Congress passed this questionable legislation giving the U.S. executive branch and its police agencies sweeping new powers that undermine the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Act (all 362 pages of it) was passed with little debate by senators and congressmen, most of whom did not, and could not even read the bill, because when the final vote was taken, no printed copies were available.
In my opinion, the Act constitutes the greatest single governmental assault on personal and financial privacy in U.S. history. Already three U.S. district courts have ruled parts of the Act to be unconstitutional.
The Act is being used for purposes that have nothing to do with fighting terrorism undefined but everything to do with unchecked police surveillance, wiretapping and secret searches of homes and offices. Fully 125 pages of this Act concern individual financial activities as well as U.S. and offshore banking and finance.
WHAT IS THE THREAT?
The PATRIOT Act permits:
* secret FBI and police searches of your home and office
* secret government wiretaps on your phone, computer and/or Internet activity
* secret investigations of your bank records, credit cards and other financial records
* secret investigations of your library and book activities
* secret examination of your medical, travel and business records.
* the freezing of funds and assets without prior notice or appeal
* the creation of secret 'watch lists' that ban those named from air and other travel
The Patriot Act is the destruction of American Government
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