Among the many responsibilities of the government, one is to preserve the liberties and lives of its people. Subsequent to the brutal attack of September 11, President Bush together with the House of Representatives and the Senate enacted the USA Patriot Act, which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, was an act signed in 2001 immediately after the terrorist attack of September 9/11. Primarily, the goal of the Act was to eliminate and reduce threats of terrorist actions on America soil.
The Act enhances the fight against terrorism by giving investigators the power to fight terror using variety of tools, some of which have been controversial. Many arguments have been leveled against the Act, but while some arguments are healthy misinformed debate neither teaches nor enlightens. Shouldn’t the government use necessary means possible to protect its citizens? The Department of Justice has published reports that indicate that the Act has been in a way effective in preventing and stopping terrorism in the country.
Reports in 2004 indicate that the department has in effect charged more than 310 defendants with criminal offenses that relate to terrorism of which at least 179 of the accused have been convicted. Prior to terrorist attacks in 9/11, it was almost impossible for authorities to monitor activities of criminals who had ties to terrorist groups.
For instance, one Zacarias Moussaoui was on the suspect list of the FBI but agents had failed in connecting him to AL Qaeda because of existing challenges in search warrants.
However, once the Patriotic Act was enacted, agents could monitor individuals activities even if they have not found substantial evidence to the same. The department of justice credits the Act for helping it cracks some cases of terrorism. In essence, the Act has enhanced sharing of information within the intelligence that has been partly responsible for the attacks. The websites, www.lifeandliberty.gov and www.usdoj.gov provide much details of how the Act has been in so far effective.
Reports outline that the Act has enabled FBI to break up numerous terrorist cells and millions of dollars that were destined to fund terrorist activities have been frozen. Multiple terrorist plots have been foiled in America some are in the not publicly known and other has been making headlines in the media. Some famous Act that has been foiled over the years include the case that involved three men that cities of New York, Dallas and Springfield, Ill. In separate plots the men were planning to bomb a skyscraper, federal building and a subway. Imagine the catastrophic results had the FBI failed in preventing these plots? Several operatives have been arrested and convicted because of the Patriot Act.
The Lackawanna Six plot is yet another plot that was prevented in 2002. The surveillance provisions that have raised multiple controversies on privacy infringements have in essence prevented more than 50 terrorist plots not only in the US but also abroad. Again credit goes to provisions in the Patriotic Act that enabled counterterrorism and drug investigators to share information. Despite the success, many misconceptions and myths have been leveled upon the provisions of the Patriot Act. Simply put the Act only attempts to modernize law enforcement to touch on areas of technology including cell phones and email accounts.
Essentially, the act recognizes that terrorists do not at all work within bureaucratic definitive boundaries. Therefore, law enforcers must be dynamic in the face of changing threats facing the nation whilst upholding the constitution. Years after 9/11, the patriotic Act remains indispensable to the war on terrorism. Al Qaeda may have fragmented but other organizations like ISIS are springing up. Terrorist groups are not giving then why should we?