Patriot Act

The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act) is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.

The act, as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, significantly reduced restrictions in law enforcement agencies' gathering of intelligence 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.

On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama used an Autopen to sign a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act while he was in France: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the "library records provision"), and conducting surveillance of "lone wolves" — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups. Republican leaders questioned if the use of the Autopen met the constitutional requirements for signing a bill into law.

Read more about Patriot Act:  Details, Background, Reauthorizations, Controversy

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... The USA PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001, removed a great deal of freedom from the directors of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice giving their authority to the ... Ashcroft and was responsible for inserting language in the USA PATRIOT Act undercutting the two agencies' independence, employees say." ...
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... See also Controversial invocations of the USA PATRIOT Act The USA PATRIOT Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment ... Opponents of the Act have been quite vocal in asserting that it was passed opportunistically after the September 11 attacks, believing there to have been little ... They view the Act as one that was hurried through the Senate with little change before it was passed ...
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... and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act which said, "No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as ... Reid supported the original Patriot Act passed shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ... He opposed the later versions of the act, stating on the Senate floor in December 2005 that "The final bill was written by Republican conferees working behind closed doors with ...

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