Also known as the USA PATRIOT Act and Patriot Act I, this controversial Act was introduced as H.R. 3162 by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, on October 23, 2001, in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The acronym “USA PATRIOT” stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. The Act’s stated intent was to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and elsewhere and to enhance law enforcement investigation tools. Related bills include H.R. 2975 (an earlier anti-terrorism bill that passed the House on October 12, 2001) and H.R. 3004 (the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act). On October 26, 2001, H.R. 3162 became Public Law No. 107-56, that is, the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.
Though federal courts have found some provisions of the Act unconstitutional, and despite continuing public controversy and concern, the law was renewed in March 2006.
Further controversy brewed when on February 7, 2003, the Center for Public Integrity, a public interest think tank in Washington, D.C., disclosed the content of a classified document that was to be introduced as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 or Patriot Act II. The legislation was not brought forward in this form, although some of the controversial sections were reintroduced in the Tools to Fight Terrorism Act of 2004. This act was read in the Senate on July 19, 2004. It was not passed in this form.
See Also: Terrorism.
Center for Democracy and Technology. Legislation Affecting the Internet. [Online, July 28, 2004.] Center for Democracy and Technology Website. http://www.cdt.org/ legislation/107th/wiretaps/. Azulay, Jessica. ‘Chilling’ Pieces of Patriot Act II return to Senate. The NewStandard. [Online, September 22, 2004]. http://newstandardnews.net/content/ ?action=show_item&itemid=1027.