President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law on October 31st, 2001.
The Patriot Act significantly increases penalties for acts of terrorism, changes the definition of terrorism, and increases the statute of limitation on crimes of terrorism. The act also greatly increases the information collection ability of federal agencies, both foreign and domestic. The Patriot Act also amends many existing laws in subtle ways making them broader in scope.
The 342 page bill was passed by congress with record speed and no debate after the 9/11 attacks. It is said that the bill was a reaction to the 9/11 attacks, but like many other aspects of the Bush agenda that are claimed to be reactionary, legislation in the Patriot Act goes back a long way, and in fact some of it had previously been proposed and been shot down because it was deemed unconstitutional in 1996.
The Patriot Act was not written up in response to the 9/11 attacks, it is a collection of laws that the Bush administration and law enforcement agencies had been compiling for years. The Bush administration was already ready to enact these laws even prior to the election.
In Bush's own words:
"This bill was carefully drafted and considered. Led by the members of Congress on this stage, and those seated in the audience, it was crafted with skill and care, determination and a spirit of bipartisanship for which the entire nation is grateful. This bill met with an overwhelming -- overwhelming agreement in Congress, because it upholds and respects the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. "
In fact there was little debate and there was no testimony heard from experts outside of law enforcement. The bill was also fast tracked so that it was not subject to the standard review procedures and now, today, people all around the country are troubled by this act precisely because it does not
Some items of interest in the Patriot Act:
For more on CHAOS:
For more on FISA warrants:
A Congressional Report on the Patriot Act:
Analysis of the Patriot Act related to On-line activity:
For more on nation wide protest to the Patriot Act: