The Patriot Act.

According to President Bush, “The Patriot Act defends our liberty. The Patriot Act makes it able for those of us in positions of responsibility to defend the liberty of the American people. It’s essential law” (Allen, 2004). According to the Justice Department, the PATRIOT Act gives support to and encourages enhanced sharing of information among various law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels. In addition, this law assists law enforcement in their efforts to “connect the dots” from a wider scope of agencies when assembling evidence so as to “develop a complete picture” regarding possible threats from terrorists (Ward, 2002). Additionally, the Act increased border security funding and allows the Attorney General to disburse monetary rewards to those individuals and entities such as municipalities that have enjoined the fight against terrorism. Furthermore, it provides financial support for the training of first responders such as firefighters. Finally, the PATRIOT Act permits government agencies power to delay notification of search warrants, “which (is) a long-existing crime-fighting tool upheld by courts nationwide for decades in organized crime, drug cases and child pornography” (US Department of Justice, 2005).

Critics of the Act suggest that is in contradiction to the tenants of the First Amendment. As an example, a citizen can be identified and treated as a terrorist if they are a breaking federal law such as trespassing on public property during a protest when a federal official is injured, not by that person but simply injured during the protest. This allows any person who was exercising their constitutional right of free speech to be arrested and detained indefinitely without benefit of legal counsel, a violation of the Fifth Amendment right to due process of law.

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