The USA PATRIOT Act stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 – though nothing could be further from the truth.
As Wikipedia states, "The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury's authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act's expanded law enforcement powers can be applied. The act is currently set to expire May 29, 2011; after a 90 day extension from February 28 by Congress. "
What one can draw from the above statement is that the Patriot Act basically put into place the fundamentals of a US authoritarian police state. These initiatives have been in force as of this writing for over a decade. This means that the activities authorized by the Patriot Act have been embedded deeply in the current bureaucracy and even if the law itself is changed the abusive anti-civil liberty practices will no doubt continue. As President Barack Obama said (paraphrased) when confronted with an administration policy of smuggling guns into Mexico, "It's a big government with a lot of moving parts."
The Patriot Act, shamefully, was passed broadly by both parties of Congress and supported by the political establishment. Some to this day claim intimidation was part of the process and that armed men patrolled the halls of Congress as the vote was taken. The 1,000-plus page Patriot Act appeared soon after 9/11 – so soon that it begs the question as to how such an expansive bill could possibly have been pulled together so quickly and had who composed it. These questions do not seem to have ever been satisfactorily addressed.
Many of the more offensive parts of the legislation were to be removed per legislative authorization after 2005 but this did not happen. Instead, the Act was revised and many of the most offensive and anti-civil liberty provisions were left alone. The revised act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on March 9 and 10, 2006. Unsuccessful efforts were made once again in early 2011 to revise the Act. And has been pointed out above, the statutes themselves have so penetrated the intelligence community – and the Judicial branch as well – that even a legal change may not reconfigure the underlying practices.
|03/20/12||Demolishing Due Process|
|01/21/12||You'd Have to be Crazy to Start a Global Business in the USA – As a Public Company|
|12/27/11||The NDAA Repeals More Rights|