George w. Bush and Usa Patriot Act Essay

Submitted By katelynlang
Words: 2015
Pages: 9

Security vs. Privacy – is there room for both? Forty-Five days following the attacks on the historical date of September 11, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act which stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” Act or more commonly referred to as the Patriot Act. The act’s sole purpose is to get information and prosecute international terrorists scheming on American soil; however, the act has caused many concerns. Much of the Patriot Act violates the U.S. Constitution, the sacred document created by the famous Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for protection of American rights and freedom. The Patriot Act violates the First Amendment rights, which defends free speech and expression. It also intrudes on the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures. The Patriot Act allows unconstitutional and unethical surveillance of Americans, but small progress has been made in improving national security. Free speech, free expression, and a free lifestyle cannot survive with the constant fear of the Patriot Act. On October 26, 2001 President George W. Bush signed into law the Patriot Act. Although the Act is still in effect, one Senator did vote against the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001. It was Senator Feingold. Feingold is important because he was the only Senator to fight against the Patriot Act before it was signed into law. The arguments that he made against the Act during continue to point out the negative effects the Act has had on the lives of Americans and will continue to have moving forward in the future. When Feingold was asked for ruling against the Patriot act, he said that, “we [Americans] will lose that war [on Terrorism] without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.” Basically, Feingold made it clear that the Patriot Act is useless. If government security is meant to protect American’s rights, then the American people should not have to lose their liberties to gain security. What purpose will security even serve if there are no freedoms left to defend? If the Federal government limits the rights of Americans, then security is almost pointless. Ever since 1776, the Bill of Rights has secured rights, so Bush deciding to change the system seems unnecessary. The almost unlimited powers that the government has mean that there is less privacy protection than ever before. The electronic surveillance provisions apply to suspected terrorists, but that definition is very loose and it’s easy enough for the government to label anyone as a suspected terrorist and to start gathering information on them. “How Would a Patriot Act?,” a book by Glenn Greenwald introduces strong arguments. President George W. Bush has allowed the National Security Agency to wiretap phone calls in the United States without a legal warrant. Bush argued that wiretapping is necessary for security against terrorism. A question arises, though. Why would the administration illegally search and invade privacy if a warrant issued from the court is almost never denied? The answer cannot claim that immediate wiretaps are the reason for illegal invasion because the law allows for this as long as it is approved a short time later. To say that the president is faced with an emergency and may have to act quickly, is one thing; however, to say that he can violate the law because of an emergency, is a very different thing.
From the book, Griswald writes about warrant requests in the FISA court:
Prior to the December 2005 disclosure that President Bush had violated the law, no one ever suggested that the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] framework impeded necessary eavesdropping. If anything, the FISA court had long been criticized … for being too permissive, for allowing the government whatever eavesdropping powers it requested. Indeed, its reputation for granting…