In response to 9/11 and our war on terrorism, we passed the USA Patriot Act of 2001 which authorizes the use of wartime procedures to capture and prosecute terrorists. This law reversed many of the restrictions which were imposed on the government after it was caught spying on private citizens and political groups in the 1970s. The patriot Act suspends many of the civil liberties basic to our democracy. It allows the use of military tribunals, racial profiling, and indefinite incarceration without due process or evidence of wrongdoing. It gives federal prosecutors the authority to conduct wiretap and surveillance operations without proof of criminal activity. It also allows law enforcement to seize bank, telephone and e-mail records for counterterrorism investigations without significant oversight. Patriot Act supporters claim that we must choose between these civil liberties and fighting terrorism. Civil libertarians say this law puts at risk the personal freedoms and rights embodied in the Constitution which, in the past, we have gone to war to protect. They claim the Patriot Act is unnecessary because our usual civil procedures are capable of prosecuting terrorists. Contrary to this lawâ€™s intent, our Justice Department has used the Patriot Actâ€™s anti-terrorist provisions to pursue defendants for crimes unrelated to terrorism, including drug violations, credit card fraud and bank theft. The NSA has also used the Patriot Act to justify eavesdropping on the private communications of millions of law-abiding Americans. The sunset date for the Patriot Act is June of 2017.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current Patriot Act policy
I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to advance the Patriot Actâ€™s sunset date to 2015