The USA Patriot Act
Preserving The Life and Liberty of Americans After 9/11/01
The Congress enacted the Patriot Act to provide law enforcement with new tools and measures required to detect and prevent against terrorism. The following are the highlights of a few significant ways by which the Act has enhanced the counter terrorist efforts.
- INVESTIGATION: The Act has allowed law enforcement to use investigation tools such as electronic surveillance and sophisticated wiretap techniques, which were previously available for many non-terrorism crimes, to now become available for a wide range of terrorism-related crimes and offenses; The Act has allowed law enforcement to delay notification to allow time to coordinate identification and investigation of other individuals, associates or leads without tipping them off too early; in national security terrorism cases, the Act allows the federal court to issue orders for obtaining business records when necessary.
- INTERAGENCY INFORMATION SHARING: The Act eliminated the legal barriers preventing communication between police officers, FBI agents, federal prosecutors and investigators, and allowed them to uncover terrorist plots without strict adherence to bureaucratic restrictions.
- HI-TECH LAWS FOR HIGH-TECH CRIMES: The Act allowed for updated laws to reflect and meet the challenges brought on by the new technology; allowed the use of single jurisdiction search warrant within the jurisdiction they occurred regardless of where they are to be executed; and allowed the victims of computer hacking to seek law enforcement assistance similar to combatting of physical trespassers.
- INCREASED PENALTIES FOR TERRORIST CRIMES: The Act imposed new and tougher penalties for not only those who commit, but also those who harbor, conspire and support terrorist activities and operations, both at home and abroad. The Act also expanded the list of crimes for which penalties are imposed. Finally , the Act eliminated or extended the time restriction for certain terrorist crimes. According to information provided by Department of Justice, the counter terrorism measures of the Act have certainly been effective in enhancing our government’s ability to prevent against, investigate, and prosecute terrorist crimes.