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Is the Patriot Act Too Great a Threat to Our Civil Liberties?

Is the Patriot Act Too Great a Threat to Our Civil Liberties?. Michelle Schoonmaker Shane Fuhrman Rachel Almy Stacey Cremar. USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 . Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism

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Is the Patriot Act Too Great a Threat to Our Civil Liberties?

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  1. Is the Patriot Act Too Great a Threat to Our Civil Liberties? Michelle Schoonmaker Shane Fuhrman Rachel Almy Stacey Cremar

  2. USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 • Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism • Response to Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. • Passed the Senate 98-1 and the House 356-66. • Bush signed in to law on October 26, 2001.

  3. What does it do? “To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.” • 342 pages long • Ten titles • Amends 15 statutes

  4. Title I - Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism • Establishes Counterterrorism fund(sec 101) • Reimburses branches of government for funds spent on anti-terrorism activities. • Condemns discrimination against Muslim and Arab Americans(sec 102) • Allows the Dept. of Defense to share information with the Dept. of Justice during emergency situations (sec104) • Expands the National Electronic Crime Task Force Initiative (sec 105) • Expands Presidential authority (sec 106) • Allows the President to seize property belonging to foreign nationals connected with terrorism. If the seizure is based on classified evidence, then the judge reviewing the case cannot share that evidence with the defense attorneys.

  5. Title II - Enhanced Surveillance Procedures • Authority to share criminal investigative information (sec 203) • Any information collected by the police or presented to a Federal grand jury may be shared with intelligence agencies. This information sharing is limited to evidence of terrorist activities. • Permits a wiretap on an individual, rather than a specific phone line (sec 206) • Allows for disclosure of electronic communications by service providers (sec 212) • Permits a delay in notification of a search warrant (sec 213) • Prohibits court action against communication companies who provide information to the government about terrorist related actions (sec 225)

  6. Title III - International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001 • Allows Sec. of Treasury certain powers over financial institutions (sec 311) • Increased record keeping and reporting of transactions involving institutions outside the US. • Encourages financial institutions, govt. and law enforcement to share information on money laundering and terrorist activities(sec 314) • Limits liability of financial institutions to any person for submitting reports of suspicious activity (sec 351) • Requires brokers and dealers to submit reports of suspicious activity, similar to financial institutions in sec 314 (sec 356)

  7. Title IV - Protecting the Border • Triples the number of personnel stationed on US borders (sec 402) • Expands list of those who can be deported for terrorist activity (sec 411) • Attorney General can detain aliens believed to be part of terrorist activity without giving evidence or reason (sec 412)

  8. Title V - Removing Obstacles To Investigating Terrorism • Requires DNA samples of terrorists to be collected and put on file in a database of violent criminals (sec 503) • Coordinates federal agents and law enforcement officers in conducting surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence (sec 504) • Allows government officials access to educational records without a court order (sec 507-508)

  9. Title VI - Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers, and Their Families • Public safety officers, involved after an act of terrorism, are provided benefit programs and given official expedited payments. (sec 611) • Gives compensation and assistance to victims of acts of terrorism (sec 621) • As a whole, this title gives compensation and aid to those which are affected by terrorism in and outside the US.

  10. Title VII - Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection Allows federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to share information that enhance the investigation and prosecution abilities against terrorist conspiracies and activities (authorizes appropriations) (sec 701)

  11. Title VIII - Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorism • Creates new crime of “domestic terrorism” (sec 801-802) • Terrorist acts against mass transportation vehicles, ferries, employees, passengers, or operating systems • Expands and clarifies the crimes of harboring or providing material support for terrorists (sec 803-807) • Expands maximum penalties for terrorist crimes, attempts, and conspiracies (sec 809-812) • Allows for wiretaps on anyone suspected of “exceeding the authority” of a computer used in interstate commerce (sec 814) • Penalties for persons knowingly possessing biological agents, toxins, or delivery systems (sec 817)

  12. Title IX - Improved Intelligence • Permits sharing of information from the CIA to the Justice Department (sec 901) • Makes officers and employees of the intelligence community “mini-CIA” to investigate terrorism (sec 903) • Permits sharing of information from the Justice Dept. and similar agencies to the CIA (sec 905) • Creates a cross-training program for government and law enforcement agencies to recognize foreign intelligence materials and other information pertaining to their investigations (sec 908)

  13. Title X - Miscellaneous • Creates grants to aid in first responder assistance (improved equipment and training) (sec 1005) • Sets up protections of our critical infrastructures (sec 1016)

  14. Neo-patriotism • “New Patriotism” • Those who love their country and will make sacrifices for their country • Support Patriot Act as protection from terrorism • Neo vs Traditional patriots • Traditional patriots: Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington • Supported and defended the Constitution • Valued liberty • Neo patriots: John Ashcroft, George Bush • Value safety at the cost of some liberty

  15. Ben Franklin “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  16. Patriot Act Since Passing Since its passing, some parts of the Patriot Act have been found unconstitutional • Sec 505: • Allows government investigators access to consumer reports, telephone records and financial records • Produced in secret and without civil liability • Court order not required to obtain documents • Violates first amendment right to freedom of speech and fourth amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure

  17. Patriot Act Since Passing • Sec 805: • Prohibits giving “expert advice” to terrorist groups and other organizations • "The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature," –Judge Audrey Collins, US District Court Judge

  18. Patriot Act Since Passing • Sec 215: • Expands the power of the FBI to obtain records and other “tangible things” for use in a terrorist investigation • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a law suit against the constitutionality of this section - violates 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments • Still pending • In July 2004, the House of Representatives voted on whether to eliminate section 215 based on its constitutionality. • Tied 210-210 and the move to eliminate it was struck down

  19. The Patriot Act is too great a threat to our civil liberties. Infringements on civil liberties caused by the Patriot Act

  20. Definitions • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) • Used to prosecute computer hackers and others who exceed their authority on computers which are connected to the internet • Wiretap order vs. pen/trap order • Wiretap orders require probable cause and include specific information • Pen/trap orders can be given without probable cause and are for “non-content” information • Non-content information includes all "dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information" utilized in the processing and transmitting of wire and electronic communications

  21. Problems with the Patriot Act • Greatly expanded surveillance with significantly decreased checks and balances • Dealing with terrorism? • Created untrusting atmosphere

  22. Expanded Surveillance • Easier for government to monitor online activities of innocent Americans • Tell a judge that spying could lead to information in an ongoing investigation. • Investigation does not have to involve person being spied on. • Government must be granted permission, but is not obligated to tell court or the person what was done.

  23. Expanded Surveillance • Nation-wide Roving Wiretap • Government can issue a Title III wiretap, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretap, or pen/trap order on a person or entity nationwide • Can follow to other computers, phones or others not named in the order without court or personal notification

  24. Expanded Surveillance • Internet Service Providers (ISP) • Allows for ISP’s to submit non-content information without a court order or subpoena to law enforcement agencies • Expands the information that the government can seek with a subpoena • No court review required • Possible information includes: • records of session times, temporarily assigned network (I.P.) addresses, and means and source of payments, including credit card or bank account numbers

  25. ExpandedSurveillance New definitions of terrorism increase possible targets of surveillance. • New crime of “Domestic Terrorism” • Legitimate protest activities can be considered terrorism, especially if violence erupts • Three other types of terrorism are expanded • International and Federalterrorism and terrorism transcending national borders • Opens up more people to possible surveillance

  26. Dealing with Terrorism? • Many parts of the Patriot Act do not directly relate to preventing terrorism. • Government spying on suspected computer trespassers (hackers) requires no court order • DNA samples of anyone who commits a “crime of violence” • Wiretaps allowed for suspected violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

  27. Dealing with Terrorism? • Dramatic increases in scope and penalties for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act • Raising maximum penalty for violations to 10 years (from 5) for a first offense and 20 years (from 10) for a second offense • Violators only need intend to cause any damage, as opposed to specific damage that would cause over $5000 damage or loss. • Expanded definition of loss to include time spent on investigation, response, damage assessment and restoration • Does any of this have anything to do with combating and preventing terrorism?

  28. Untrusting Environment • The Patriot Act provides an environment where no one can be trusted. It makes each citizen a police officer, hunting for terrorism in their own communities. • Similar to the “Red Scare” from 1948-1956 where citizens were looking for Communists • Replaces “Communist” with “Terrorist”

  29. The Patriot Act is not too great of a threat to our civil liberties. Reasons why giving up some civil liberties is worth public safety

  30. Myths/Realities • Myth: Political organizations and peaceful groups can be subjected to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy. • Reality: No organizations can be targeted to the above actions unless they break the law. • Myth: Many people are unaware that their library habits (what you take out of a library and what you read on websites) could become the target of government surveillance. • Reality: The Patriot Act specifically protects Americans’ First Amendment rights, and terrorism investigators have no interest in the library habits of ordinary Americans.

  31. Myths/Realities con’t • Myth: Law enforcement can delay giving notice when they conduct a search (not required to show a search warrant when searching for evidence). • Reality: This tool can be used only with a court order, in extremely narrow circumstances when immediate notification may result in death or physical harm to an individual, flight from prosecution, evidence tampering, witness intimidation, or serious jeopardy to an investigation.

  32. Goals of Patriot Act • Prevent • Future terrorist attacks • Protect • Innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists • Preserve • Life and liberty of the American people

  33. Improved Counterterrorism The Patriot Act improves the US’s counterterrorism efforts in many ways • Allows investigators to use some of the tools which have been used to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking • Facilitates information sharing and cooperation among many government agencies and law enforcement • Updates laws to reflect new technologies and their potential threats • Increases penalties for terrorist crimes

  34. Tools • Allows law enforcement use of surveillance against crimes of terror • Previously, courts could allow use of electronic surveillance for non-terrorism crimes. • Aids in federal agents following sophisticated terrorists • Many terrorists are trained to evade investigators with devices such as cell phones. • Roving wiretaps apply to the person, not the particular phone line. • Used by law enforcement to investigate crimes like racketeering and drug offenses.

  35. Tools • Law enforcement can conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists • Delayed search warrants • Federal agents can obtain business records for terrorism cases • Government could obtain business records in criminal cases with a grand jury subpoena

  36. Information Sharing Under the Patriot Act, different parts of government and law enforcement can communicate. • Police, FBI agents, federal prosecutors and intelligence officials can share information about terrorist activities. • This coordination helps in finding and prosecuting terrorists.

  37. New Technological Threats The Patriot Act revises laws to incorporate new technology and other new potential threats. • Victims of computer hacking can seek law enforcement help in monitoring who is hacking into their systems. • It’s easier to obtain search warrants. • Terrorism spans large areas, often into many different districts. • Law enforcement agents no longer need search warrants from every district affected. • One can acquire warrants in any district, no matter where it is to be executed.

  38. Increased Penalties Act creates new offenses and increases penalties for previously existing offenses. • Clarifies offenses of harboring and material support of terrorists • New crime of domestic terrorism • Increases penalties • Material support offenses: increased from 10 to 15 years • Sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel: increased from 10 to 20 years

  39. How American Voters Feel “To the best of your knowledge have you or a member of your family had your civil rights affected by the Patriot Act?” (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 2003)

  40. Conclusion As a group, we feel that there are some aspects of the Patriot Act which are very useful in protecting the American people and their freedom, such as the cooperation and sharing of information between government agencies. However, the infringements and potential for abuse of many other sections are too great to merit not questioning the Act’s constitutionality.

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