How Patriotic Is The Patriot Act?

Desiree Smith

The Patriot Act is not about terrorism. It is about control of
United States citizens. - It's about dictatorship & tyranny.

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either”.

These are some of the wisest words ever spoken in history. For without freedom people are subject to slavery. Naturally the first thing that came to mind when I read up on this subject was the President George W. Bush’s Patriot Act first signed in 2001. Supposedly this act was signed so the government would have a better ability to detect terrorists in America after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers.

There has been a lot of controversy about the lack of proper oversight over certain provisions that seem to infringe upon the civil liberties of Americans. One of these provisions is section 215 in the USAPA, which allows the government access to records and other items under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. The House of Representatives had passed this act with no judicial oversight on the provision that allows the government to search library records.

Because of 9/11 our whole country was in a state of fear and in my opinion, as well as the opinions of many other Americans, the representatives for the Patriot act used this catastrophe as a scare tactic in the mainstream media. They made the impression that our country was in a delicate condition needing protection from anyone that possibly posed a threat to the government and our nation. This tactic was obviously used to try to convince the House and the American people that the Patriot Act was the only solution to finding possible terrorist threats that might endanger our country.

In the meantime they were completely dismissing the fact that this act infringes upon several of the rights granted to the American people by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The people of the United States of America were given these rights by our founding fathers, who fought and died in a war to ensure that the freedoms that they had risked their lives for would remain intact.

Americans should not have to give up their privacy and liberties that were granted to them over 200 years ago so the government can keep us safe from our own citizens who may be considered terrorists or involved with a terrorist group. The terrorist profile was designed by the Secretary of State, who was given this power by the makers of the Patriot Act, and has a ridiculous list of what attributes makes a domestic terrorist or terrorist group.

There have been a lot of questions about the Patriot Act and a lot of accusations claiming that it is unconstitutional. Is the Patriot Act unconstitutional? If it is, how is it unconstitutional? Does the Patriot Act infringe upon the American peoples civil liberties? Who does this affect?

This particular topic is the one everyone should have the most concern for. The state of our country is at question because of the irresponsibility of the government’s choices, and this is just one of their bad decisions that the American people have to pay for.

Privacy should be every person’s God given right, but thankfully the American citizens have this right backed by the fourth amendment which states “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. Even though the Constitution does not clearly give the people the right to privacy, it does give us the power to keep everything that belongs to us private, including what we say, do, read, or write, or study. This is essential in privacy and the people have the rights to keep it. It is a shame that this right, as well as others, is being swiftly taken away from anyone who makes that watch list since the United States of America Patriot Act (USAPA) was signed into law in 2001.

During my preliminary research I got very familiar with the USAPA. I re-read the Bill of Rights and Constitution and compared them to the USAPA in an attempt to prove it is in fact unconstitutional. I realized exactly why the importance of this subject is so great. The government enacted the USAPA using scare tactics to place safety above freedom. It should be the people’s choice as to how safe they want themselves to be, not the government’s choice to choose how safe they want to make us at the cost of our freedom.

Even though technically we vote for the persons in office, it does not give them the power to make laws against our Amendments. In fact the Constitution states that, “by no law shall they be infringed upon”. Americans should not be forced to give up their civil liberties just for a little safety against possible threats that may or may not be valid.

This is a subject that every American should be concerned about. Some people might not care because they do not think it directly affects them. The truth of the matter is it affects every citizen in America when our civil liberties (which our founding fathers granted to us through the Constitution and Bill of Rights) are being briskly swept away by a bill that presents safety as a higher importance than our freedom.

Though the House of Representatives passed this act putting the country’s safety and security first in order to find possible terrorists and terrorist groups that may pose a threat to the nation, the Patriot Act is un-constitutional due to several reasons.

The warrantless roving wiretaps on all electronic devices that it permits (Patriot Act, section 206), is a violation of the 4th Amendment.
The secret search and seizures that allow for confiscation of persons, assets, private and business papers, medical records, school records, library rental history, and any other records they deem necessary without the person even being convicted of a crime (Patriot Act, section’s 209, 210, 213, 215, & 501) is a violation of the 4th Amendment.
They can prosecute keepers of records if those keepers tell anyone they had been subpoenaed for information related to a terrorist investigation (Patriot Act, section 501 (2)(d)), which is a violation of the 1st Amendment.
Not to mention the fact that warrants can be now be withheld from the person it is intended to be issued to indefinitely (Patriot Act, section 213), and not even notify the persons of the specific reasons for the seizure (Patriot Act, section 213), is a violation of the 6th Amendment.
As well as the power that allows deprivations of life, liberty, or property, without “due process of law”, to those being accused (Patriot Act, section 412).
And last but not least the power to hold the suspected criminals indefinitely without a trial (Patriot Act, section 412), which violates the 6th Amendment.


During research it was found that section 802 of the Patriot Act was written to redefine what terrorism means to include domestic terrorism which means any person who commits an unlawful criminal act that is dangerous to a person’s life and expands the type of conduct the government can investigate. This is to say if the criminal act seems to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.

It was also discovered what the terrorists profile is as prepared by the Secretary of State to Homeland Security. This profile is based upon characteristics that known right wing extremist or domestic terrorists have been known to have. These types of people have a perceived stance or beliefs on issues such as immigration, restrictions on fire arm ownership and use.

Most extremist express negativity towards the new African American President.
Among the themes of exploited social issues are opposition to efforts for gun control and criticism of free trade.
Extremist are highly opinionated on government infringement on civil liberties, white supremacist exploitations of abortion, inter racial crimes, and same sex marriages.
Historically, domestic extremist have always believed America’s economy would fail and they try to recruit like-minded individuals.
Right wing extremist have a tendency to believe in anti government or conspiracy theories such as the “New World Order” or “One World Government”.
Department of Homeland Security believes that right wing extremist try to recruit returning veterans that are disgruntled or disillusioned. This means that if a person has a bumper sticker on their car against the present president then they could potentially be subject to be included on the terrorist watch list and have their privacy constantly invaded.

They will look into anything that could potentially mean a person has terrorist tendencies. Let me give you an example off the top of my head. John Doe is a supporter of Ron Paul and proudly declares it with a bumper sticker that is against President Obama on his car. He also is going to college majoring to be a chemist. On his computer he is researching different components of chemicals that have many different uses, one of which could be a bomb which he really has no intention of creating but must study this for his class. Because of the bumper sticker he has been placed on the watch list.

The government is now permitted to invade his privacy by hacking into his computer and collecting even his library rental history records. Because of the profession he wishes to pursue, he has evidence of researching chemicals on his computer. He now becomes a potential threat. The government waits until the middle of the night to attack his house with the S.W.A.T. team and subdue him without presenting a warrant.

He has now been detained secretly and because he did not show up for work or call his mother everyone is worried because he cannot be found. While waiting in a federal prison for his trial, he has no clue as to why he has been arrested. When he finally is able to talk to a lawyer the government monitors his conversation. John Doe could potentially be awaiting trial for the rest of his life under the Patriot Act and his family would be none the wiser.

This might sound outlandish but it is just one scenario of what the government is capable of doing to citizens due to this act and the broad profile it includes. John’s privacy was completely taken just because of a bumper sticker. What he studies in school is his private business and so are his library records. He made the private decision to put that sticker on his car because of his own private political beliefs. I wish that I could provide a real scenario but unfortunately the people that have been detained indefinitely are not heard about. They are probably on the missing person’s list.

I tried for a very long time but could not find out how many American’s have been convicted with significant proof of terrorism activities due to the apparent secrecy under the USAPA, but I did locate an article that stated that over 200 people are now facing prison time for merely raising their voices at flight attendants, one of which was seen spanking her children and another couple was caught kissing and making other passengers uncomfortable, both of which, after being reprimanded by the flight attendants, raised their voices at the attendant.

Since when is punishing your child an act of terrorism? Or for that matter, kissing in public or making people feel uncomfortable is now considered terrorism? Never mind that though, because the real act of terrorism seemed to be when they exercised their right to free speech and yelled at the flight attendant. Those attendants really felt so scared that they thought those people were going to blow up the plain? Apparently it is a crime under the USAPA now.

One of the provisions under airline security defines disruptive behavior as a terrorist act. The other broadened the already existing criminal law so that any attempt or conspiracy to interfere with a flight crew is now a felony. And if yelling, or abusive speech is considered an assault to some then they should remember that good old “sticks and stones” saying. It is common law that assault is considered anything in regards to offensive contact. Yelling is not contact. But apparently it is a felony now. So, since these people spanked, kissed, and yelled their rights were immediately taken away and the government was probably permitted to seize all of their assets to search for links with terrorism.

Since the information cannot be found on how many Americans are still being held under the USAPA, there is also no apparent evidence of how many Americans are being detained with no proof of terrorism activities after their privacy rights were infringed.

I did manage to find something close though. It was found out that the terrorist watch list has no specific age or gender preference, which is why eight year old Mikey Hicks has been being harassed at airports since he was two years old because his name is on a special high risk terrorist watch list. So before Mikey was even old enough to take advantage of his rights and express them, they were taken away. In fact, he never really had any of his privacy rights in the first place.

It was also found out that “In September 2007, the Inspector General of the Justice Department reported that the Terrorist Screening Center (the FBI-administered organization that consolidates terrorist watch list information in the United States) had over 700,000 names in its database as of April 2007- and that the list was growing by an average of over 20,000 records per month”.

Now I performed the math on this, since this information was from four years ago, and by the calculations according to this reference there very well could now be over 1,860,000 people on the terrorist watch list. That is to assume that this rate has continued over the last four years. The people that are on this list, the government is permitted to invade their privacy under the USAPA.

Additionally, because of the USAPA and the government’s emphasis on the war on terrorism, America now has nineteen airports that use a total of forty full body scanners. These scanners are said to be one hundred percent optional and a person’s alternative option to having a full body pat down. There has been a lot of controversy in regards to how airport security is permitted to invade a person’s privacy. People have one of two options of being exploited; either they get groped with a full body pat down or they get their naked body displayed on a television screen and have their picture filed.

I find this disheartening to know that a good parent could potentially get thrown in jail, being accused of child pornography just for having a photo of them hugging their child that just came out of the bath while wearing a towel. Meanwhile our airport security is looking at naked images of children on a screen and filing their pictures. Of course the parents have the option instead, to let their children get groped by the official performing a full body pat down. Is the irony not obvious?

It was also discovered that the USAPA was already written and ready for submission before 9/11. So the government was just waiting for this exact kind of tragedy to take place so they can force scare tactics about our nation’s security for a speedy submission of the USAPA.

In an article where twenty five U.S Military officers challenged the accounts of 9/11 former U.S Air force pilot Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom was quoted to have written in a 2007 statement to his author,

“The ‘Patriot Act’ was actually written prior to 9/11 with the intention of destroying the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was passed by Congress, based upon the government’s myth of 9/11, which was in reality a staged hoax. 9/11 was scripted and executed by rogue elements of the military, FAA, intelligence, and private contractors working for the US government”.

This infringement of privacy by the un-constitutionalism of the USAPA has been forced upon the American people and the people never had a choice to choose the extent of privacy they were willing to give up. Even if they did have the choice to relinquish any of their privacy rights as granted by the Constitution, then the people themselves would be guilty of being un-constitutional by infringement of their own.

Through research it was discovered that the Patriot Act does not infringe upon privacy rights per say. That is only because the Constitution does not technically grant privacy rights but only the right to keep what is yours private, including whom you associate with, your council sessions with your lawyer, and everything you own including your life.

The Patriot Act does however infringe upon several of the American people’s Amendments such as the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. So no, the American people should not give up any of their privacy so the government can catch potential terrorists. Because this sort of action leads to civil liberties infringement, which should never be allowed.

Like Benjamin Franklin stated, “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.” A country without freedom is always subject to slavery by their rulers.

Illustration: Stuart Carlson
Published here: From The Trenches


Health topic page on womens health Womens health our team of physicians Womens health breast cancer lumps heart disease Womens health information covers breast Cancer heart pregnancy womens cosmetic concerns Sexual health and mature women related conditions Facts on womens health female anatomy Womens general health and wellness The female reproductive system female hormones Diseases more common in women The mature woman post menopause Womens health dedicated to the best healthcare
buy viagra online