The Patriot Act: A law that is still governing us after 20 years despite being almost universally hated. In this episode, we take a close look at the lesser known parts of the Patriot Act that became permanent immediately, examine the status of the few provisions that had to be reauthorized over the years, find out how the law was crafted in the first place, and see what happened to the members of Congress who voted for this rights-destroying legislation.
Executive Producer: Stephen McMahan
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Patriot Act Overviews
Charles Doyle. April 18, 2002. The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch, RS21203.” Congressional Research Service.
Charles Doyle. December 10, 2001. Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, RL31200. Congressional Research Service.
Anna Mulrine Grobe. October 7, 2021. “Guantanamo: A former prosecutor’s solution to an ‘unsolvable problem.'” The Christian Science Monitor.
Jessica Corbett. July 22, 2020. “ACLU Says Release of Adham Hassoun Confirms US Government Lacks Power to ‘Lock Someone Up Without Due Process.'” Common Dreams.
Carol Rosenberg. June 29, 2020. “Judge Rejects U.S. Effort to Hold Palestinian Man After Prison Term.” The New York Times.
Nino Guruli. February 24, 2020. “The Unreasonableness of the Citizenship Distinction: Section 412 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Lessons from Abroad.” The University of Chicago Law Review Online.
Jennifer K. Elsea and Michael John Garcia. March 14, 2016. Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation, R42143 Congressional Research Service.
ACLU. December 31, 2011. “President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law.”
ACLU. October 23, 2001. “How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants.”
Credit Reporting Agencies
Ken Sweet. October 6, 2017. “Equifax Collects Your Data, and Then Sells It.” Inc.
“Experian Revenue.” Craft.
“Equifax Revenue 2006-2021| EFX.” Macrotrends.
“TransUnion Revenue 2011-2021 | TRU” Macrotrends.
15 U.S. Code § 1681v – Disclosures to governmental agencies for counterterrorism purposes. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute.
Reauthorizations and Expirations
Charlie Savage. August 14, 2020. “McConnell Appears Set to Quietly Suffocate Long-Debated F.B.I. Surveillance Bill.” The New York Times.
India McKinney and Andrew Crocker. April 16, 2020. “Yes, Section 215 Expired. Now What?” EFF.
Charlie Savage. March 27, 2020. “House Departs Without Vote to Extend Expired F.B.I. Spy Tools” The New York Times.
Office of the Press Secretary. March 9, 2006. “President Signs USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act.” The White House.
Steven M. Martinez. April 21, 2005. “Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.” archives.fbi.gov
Brain Duignan. “USA PATRIOT Act: Reauthorizations.” Britannica.
Charlie Savage. January 22, 2021. “Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says” The New York Times.
Charlie Savage. December 3, 2020. “U.S. Used Patriot Act to Gather Logs of Website Visitors” The New Times.
Charlie Savage. March 31, 2020. “Problems in F.B.I. Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Trump Aide Surveillance, Review Finds.” The New York Times.
Byron Tau and Michelle Hackman. February 7, 2020. “Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement.” The Wall Street Journal.
Charlie Savage. December 11, 2019. “We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly.” The New York Times.
Sharon Bradford Franklin. July 25, 2018. “Carpenter and the End of Bulk Surveillance of Americans.” Lawfare.
Adam Liptak. June 22, 2018. “In Ruling on Cellphone Location Data, Supreme Court Makes Statement on Digital Privacy.” The New York Times.
Bill Weinberg. June 15, 2018. “USA PATRIOT Act Threatens Uruguay Banks Over Legal Cannabis System.” Cannabis Now.
Bills and Laws
The Patriot Act
United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act) of 2001
- Expanded the authority of the President to “investigate, regulate, or prohibit” financial transactions to include “any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”
- Expanded the authority of the President to block transactions and property of “any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” “during the pendency of an investigation”.
- Expands the authority of the President to confiscate property “of any foreign person, foreign organization, or foreign country” when the US has been “attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals” and the President can then decide what to do with that property “for the benefit of the United States.”
- These provisions remain in current law as of 10/18/21
- Expands the list of suspected actions that can justify the Attorney General and some subordinates obtaining judicial permission for wiretaps (a list that has since been expanded further) to include terrorism related crimes.
- Allows grand jury information to be shared with “any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official” if the matter involves “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence”
- The government official who receives the information has to notify the court that it got the information, but that notification can be in secret and they have to submit it “within a reasonable time after such disclosure”, which is not defined.
- The government official who receives the information is authorized to share it with “any other Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official” if it includes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence”
- The procedures for sharing the information was left up to the Attorney General to decide.
- Authorizes the FBI to speed up the hiring of translators
- If a person is a “foreign power or an agent of a foreign power”, the government can authorize wiretapping a “common carrier, landlord, custodian, or other specified person” if the court finds that the target is using communications that “may have the effect of thwarting the identification” of the target.
- The warrants can be issued for up to 120 days fi they are for targeting individuals and can be for up to a year if targeting a “foreign power”
- Allows the government to seize the contents of voicemails using a warrant instead of a surveillance order, which is a faster method for authorization.
- Expands the information that can be subpoenaed from telecom companies to include connection records, records of call times and duration, types of services used, telephone numbers, IP addresses, and method of payments included credit card or bank account numbers.
- This provision had no sunset.
- Allows the telecom companies to provide customer data to the government if it “reasonably believes that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serous physical injury to any person requires disclosure of the information with delay”
- Allows the telecom companies to provide customer data “to any person other than a governmental entity”
- Allows the government to require a telecom company to disclose customer records, which was previously an option decided by the telecoms.
- Allows the government to delay notifying their target about a warrant if they court finds that the notification “may have an adverse result” such as an individual fleeing prosecution, endangerment of someone’s life, tampering with evidence, witness intimidation, or jeopardizing the investigation.
- This provision allowed “sneak and peek” warrants, which allowed the government to secretly enter – physically or electronically – a target’s property to search, take pictures, copy documents, download files, etc. as long as they didn’t take any property with them.
- This provision had no sunset.
- Eliminates the requirements that trace devices only be applied to devices and facilities used by foreign persons, so that now they can be used on devices belonging to US citizens so long as the devices are likely to provide information related to a foreign intelligence investigation.
- Authorizes the FBI to order “the production of any tangible items” for their investigations into international terrorism, as long as the investigation of a US citizen or company is “not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.”
- The entity turning over the property can not tell anyone that they gave the FBI whatever they requested or tell anyone about the investigation’s existence, and in return, the entity that produced the items “shall not be liable to any other person for such production.”
- Requires that the court “shall” authorize the installation of trace devices “anywhere within the United States” if the court finds that the government has shown that the information likely obtained from the devices “is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.” The order “shall apply to any personal or entity providing wire or electronic communication services in the United states”
- A record must be kept of which officers installed the device, the date and time it was installed and uninstalled, the date, times, and durations that the device is accessed for information, and the information collected from the device. The record must be provided to the court “under seal” within 30 days “after termination of the order”.
- There was no sunset for this provision.
- Allows companies to voluntarily request law enforcement monitoring of intruders on their networks and authorizes the government to intercept information transmitted by a “computer trespasser”
- Allows judges to issue search warrants outside of the districts where the property to be searched is located.
- There was no sunset for this provision.
- Requires that companies that help the government install tracing devices authorized by Section 216 on their network be “reasonably compensated for such reasonable expenditures incurred in providing such facilities or assistance.”
- If a court finds that an employee of the United States has disclosed information collected improperly, the government has to conduct a proceeding to determine if discipline is warranted. Damages can be awarded of at least $10,000 plus litigation costs.
- Sets an expiration date of December 31, 2005 for Sections 203(a), 203(c), 205, 208, 210, 211, 213, 216, 219, 221, and 222.
- Provides immunity to anyone who complies with a FISA wiretap, including private and government persons.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to require domestic financial institutions to maintain records and file reports, including personally identifiable information, about transactions in a location outside the United States or between foreign financial institutions.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit or impose conditions upon accounts being opened in domestic financial institutions by people from foreign jurisdictions.
- Requires banks that open accounts for non-US citizens to investigate the background of the account opener or owner for money laundering red flags.
- Prohibits domestic financial institutions from opening or maintaining accounts for a foreign bank that doesn’t have a physical presence in any country.
- Orders the Secretary of the Treasury to write regulations that encourage law enforcement and financial institutions to share information about individuals, entities, and organizations, with a specific focus on charitable organizations, non-profit organizations, and nongovernmental organizations.
- A financial institution that shares information that “may involve terrorist acts or money laundering activities” can not be held liable “under any law or regulation of the United States” or of any state or contract and they can not be held liable for failing to inform their customer that their information was shared.
- Expands what qualifies as “money laundering” to include “bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of public official” and some smuggling and firearm offenses.
- An owner of property that is confiscated under US laws that allow the seizure of assets of suspected international terrorists can contest that confiscation, but the government can use evidence against them to justify the confiscation that is “otherwise inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence” if it finds that “compliance with the Federal Rules of Evidence may jeopardize the national security interests of the United States.”
- If funds are deposited by suspect into an account at a foreign bank that has an account in the United States, the money in that bank’s account -up to the amount deposited in the target’s account – can be held or seized from the bank’s account.
- If a foreign bank doesn’t terminate their relationship with the suspect, that foreign bank can be fined up to $10,000 per day until that relationship is terminated.
- If a convicted criminal hides their property, the court “shall” order other property up to the value of the missing property to be seized.
- Expands the government’s power to seize property held inside the United States if the property was obtained via felony drug offenses if the offense would be punishable by death or more than one year in prison under the foreign nation’s or the US’s laws.
- The government can apply for and the courts can grant restraining orders to hold property that is the subject of investigations being conducted by foreign governments as long as the offense would have been illegal if committed in the United States. No one can object to the restraining order. The defendant is no longer required to have received notice of the proceedings in time to act but instead the foreign court has to “take steps” to notify the defendant.
- The Secretary of the Treasury has to write regulations that require banks to verify the identity of their customers and check a list of suspected terrorists to make sure that those people are not trying to open accounts at their bank.
- Any official or employee of the US Federal Government, or any one who helps them, commit fraud on the United States “shall be fined in an amount not more than 3 times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both.
- Provides immunity to “any financial institution” that makes a voluntary disclosure of a possible violation of law to a government agency
- Prohibits the financial institution or anyone in it and the officers and employees of the Federal Government from notifying the customer that their suspicious transaction has been reported to the government.
- Authorizes employees of “any insured depository institution” (which includes “any uninsured branch or agency of a foreign bank”) to “disclose in any written employment reference” of a current or former employee information about “the possible involvement” of that person in “potentially unlawful activity.”
- If the information is shared “with malicious intent”, the institution sharing the information can be sued.
- Consumer reporting agencies “shall furnish a consumer report of a consumer and all other information in a consumer’s file to a government agency authorized to conduct investigations of, or intelligence or counterintelligence activities or analysis related to, international terrorism when presented with a written certification by such government agency that such information is necessary” for the agency’s investigation.
- The consumer reporting agency is not allowed to tell the consumer that the government requested the information or that the government received it.
- Provides immunity for a consumer reporting agency that complies with the government request.
- Transforms the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) into a bureau in the Department of the Treasury.
- The Secretary of the Treasury may impose civil money penalties equal to or more than 2 times the amount of the transaction but not more than $1 million on any financial institution that violates the money laundering laws and special measures.
- Requires that any coin or currency transaction that is over $10,000 be reported to FinCEN. The reports must include the name and address of the recipient, the amount, the date and nature of the transaction, and the name of the person filing the report.
- This does not apply to any transaction if the entire transaction occurs outside of the United States.
- Creates the crime of “currency smuggling”, which is when someone knowingly conceals more than $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments on themselves or in their luggage or containers and transports it, or attempts to transport it, into or out of the United States.
- Punishment: Up to 5 years in prison and forfeiture of the money involved in the smuggling, or an equal amount from the suspect’s personal belongings.
- Anyone who “knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business” can be imprisoned for 5 years, fined, or both.
- Expands the definition and punishments for counterfeiting to include analog, digital, and electronic images.
- Lengthens prison sentences for a range of counterfeiting offenses.
- Dramatically expands prison sentences for counterfeiting foreign currencies from single digit year sentences to 20-25 years.
- Expands the applicability of computer fraud offenses committed outside the United States if they involve devices issued by a company inside the United States, like a credit card, or if the defendant used any property within the United States to commit the crime.
- Authorizes unlimited funds to triple the number of border patrol agents, customs agents, and INS inspectors on our northern border along with an additional $50 million to update technology.
- The Attorney General and the FBI will provide criminal history records to the State Department
- Adds being a representative of a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the Secretary of State or being a representative of an organization that publicly endorses terrorist activity to the grounds to denial of entry into the United States.
- If the endorsement of terrorist activity has occurred in the last five years, that person’s spouse and children are also barred from entering the United States (this can be waived by the Attorney General if it can be proved that the spouse/children didn’t know or has renounced the behavior).
- Defines “terrorist activity”
- “To commit or to incite to commit under circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily injury
- To gather information on potential targets for terrorist activity
- To solicit funds or other things of value for a terrorist activity, a terrorist organization (unless the solicitor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the solicitation would further the organization’s terrorist activity).
- To solicit any individual to engage in terrorist activity or membership in a terrorist organization (unless the solicitor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the solicitation would further the organization’s terrorist activity).
- To commit an act that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons (including chemical, biological, or radiological weapons), explosives, or training for the commission of a terrorist activity, to any individual who the actor knows, or reasonably should know, has committed or plans to commit a terrorist activity, or to a terrorist organization (unless the actor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the act would further the organization’s terrorist activity.)
- Defines a “terrorist organization”
- A group designated, upon publication in the Federal Register, by the Secretary of State in consultation with or upon the request of the Attorney General, as a terrorist organization, after finding that the organization engages in “terrorist activity” or that the organization provides material support to further terrorist activity
- A group of two or more individuals, whether organized or not, which engages in “terrorist activity”
- The Attorney General “may” certify that an “alien” is “engaged in any other activity that endangers the national security of the United States”
- An alien who is certified “shall” be taken into custody by the Attorney General
- “The Attorney General shall maintain custody of such an alien until the alien is removed from the United States… such custody shall be maintained irrespective of any relief from removal granted the alien, until the Attorney General determines that the alien is no longer an alien who may be certified”
- If the alien is finally determined to not be removable, detention “shall terminate” but an alien who has not been removed “and whose removal is unlikely in the reasonably foreseeable future, may be detained for additional periods of up to six months only if the release of the alien will threaten the national security of the United States or the safety of the community or any person.”
- Judicial review of “any action or decision” relating to this section (“including judicial review of the merits of a determination”) is available exclusively in habeas corpus proceedings. Outside of that, “no court shall have jurisdiction to review, by habeas corpus petition or otherwise, any such action or decision.”
- The habeas corpus proceedings that are allowed may be initiated only by an application filed with the Supreme Court, any circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, or “any district court otherwise having jurisdiction to entertain it.”
- The final order “shall be subject to review, on appeal, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. There shall be no right of appeal in such proceedings to any other circuit court of appeals.”
- Allows the Secretary of State to share information with other countries about “individual aliens” for the “purpose of preventing, investigating, or punishing acts that would constitute a crime in the United States”
- Allows the Attorney General to offer rewards via public advertisements for assisting the Justice Department to “defend the Nation against terrorist acts”
- The money can come from “any executive agency or military department”
- “Neither the failure to of the Attorney General to authorize a payment nor the amount authorized shall be subject to judicial review”
- Allows the Secretary of State to pay rewards – including rewards over $5 million – for “the identification or location of an individual who holds a key leadership position in a terrorist organization”
- The reward limit has since been increased to $25 million, but higher amounts can be personally authorized by the Secretary of State
- Rewards up to $100,000 do not need to be approved by the Secretary of State
- Current law: “A determination made by the Secretary under this section shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to judicial review”
- Allows Federal officers who conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches to coordinate with Federal law enforcement officers to “investigate or protect against” actual or potential attacks, sabotage, or clandestine intelligence activities by agents of a foreign power.
- Authorizes FBI investigators to collect the name, address, length of service, and toll billing records of telephone, financial records, and consumer reports of US citizens as long as the investigation is “not conducted solely on the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
- Allows the FBI to obtain records faster using National Security Letters instead of the previous process where they had to document specific and facts showing that the person is an agent of a foreign power
- Allows the Attorney General (or high ranking designee) to request a court order for educational records that are relevant to investigations into “an act of domestic or international terrorism”
- The application to the court “shall certify that there are specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe” that the records will likely contain information related to their terrorism investigation.
- Provides immunity to educational agencies and institutions that comply with the court orders
- Increases the death or severe disability payment amount from $100,000 to $250,000
- Allocates money specifically to 9/11 victims and ensures that the payments do not count as income in order to reduce any government assistance that victim receives.
- Funds new information sharing networks
- Sets penalties for attacking mass transportation systems
- For attacks or plots that don’t kill anyone or have passengers on board: Fines and up to 20 years in prison
- For attacks on vessels carrying at least one passenger or that result in “the death of any person”, fines and up to life in prison.
- “The term ‘domestic terrorism’ means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
- Current law maintains this definition
- Establishes punishments for anyone who “harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, has committed, or is about to commit” a list of terrorism related crimes. They can be fined, sent to prison for up to 10 years, or both.
- Any Federal judicial district court can prosecuted these offenses.
- Gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against Americans that take place on property used – not necessarily owned – by the United States in foreign countries and in the residences used by United States personnel assigned to foreign missions.
- Subjects to civil forfeiture “all assets, foreign and domestic of any individual, entity, or organization engaged in planning or perpetrating any act of domestic or international terrorism against the United States, citizens or residents of the United States, or their property, and all assets, foreign or domestic, affording any person a source of influence over any such entity or organization; acquired or maintained by any person with the intent and for the purpose of supporting, planning, conducting, or concealing an act of domestic or international terrorism… or derived from, involved in, or used or intended to be used to commit any act of domestic or international terrorism…”
- The language ‘any act of domestic or international terrorism’ has since be changed to ‘any Federal crime of terrorism’
- Exempts terrorism crimes that result in or created a forseeable risk of death or serious bodily injury from an 8 year statute of limitations.
- Increases penalties for crimes
- Arson prison sentences increase from a maximum of 20 years to a maximum of life
- Destruction of energy facilities increase from a maximum of 10 years to a maximum of 20 years
- Arson or energy facility destruction crimes that result in a death can be given life sentences
- Material support to terrorists and terrorist organization prison sentences increased from a maximum of 10 years to 15 years
- Material support to terrorists or terrorist organizations that result in a death can be given life sentences
- Destruction of national defense material crimes and sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel prison sentences increased from a maximum of 10 years to 20 years
- Destruction of national defense material crimes and sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel that result in a death can be given life sentences
- Damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility crimes prison sentences increased from a maximum 15 years to 20 years
- Damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility crimes that result in a death can be given life sentences
- Adds people who conspire to commit crimes including arson, killings in Federal facilities, destruction of communications lines, stations, or systems, wrecking trains, material support to terrorists, torture, conspiracy, sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel, interference with flight crew members and attendants, damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility, and a few others to the list of those who can be punished with fines and prison sentences.
- Increases the penalty for intentionally damaging a federal computer from up to 5 years in prison to up to 10 years in prison (up to 20 years for a repeat offender).
- Establishes a maximum 10 year prison sentence and a fine for anyone who “knowingly possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system of a type or in a quantity… that is not reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful purpose.”
- Because only the President and Attorney General are able to initiate a FISA surveillance order, this provision facilitates information sharing from the Attorney General to the CIA in a way that ensures that the CIA “Director shall have no authority to direct, manage, or undertake electronic surveillance or physical search operations.”
- The Attorney General or the head of “any other department or agency of the Federal Government” with law enforcement responsibilities “shall expeditiously disclose” to the Director of Central Intelligence foreign intelligence gotten in the course of a criminal investigation.
- Creates a grant program where the Attorney General will fund States and local governments for hiring additional law enforcement personal dedicated to “intelligence gathering”, purchasing spying equipment such as wire-tap, pen links, cameras, and computer hardware/software, protective equipment for patrol officers, and communications operations for improved interoperability among surrounding jurisdictions.
- Authorizes $5 million for fiscal year 2002 for “regional antidrug training in the Republic of Turkey” by the DEA for police and “increased precursor chemical control efforts in the South and Central Asia region.”
- “During the period of time that United States armed forces are engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom and for the period of 180 days thereafter”, the Department of Defense is allowed to use their money to contract out security at their military bases in the United States to local and State governments.
- The Attorney General will complete background checks at the request of the States on people applying for a license to transport hazardous material
- Creates the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC)
Sound Clip Transcripts
- 1:26:29 Rep. Bobby Scott: First of all, I think it’s appropriate to comment on the process by which the bill is coming to us. This is not the bill that was reported and deliberated on in the Judiciary Committee. It came to us late on the floor. No one has really had an opportunity to look at the bill to see what’s in it since we’ve been out of our offices. The report has just come to us. And it would be helpful if we’d wait for some period of time so that we can at least review what we’re voting on. But I guess that’s not gonna stop us. So here we go.
- 1:27:26 Rep. Bobby Scott: This bill makes three significant changes. One, it reduces s+tandards for getting a foreign intelligence wiretap from one where it is the reason you’re getting it, to it is a significant reason for getting the wiretap, much less. Then you wonder, well, if it’s not the primary reason, why are you getting the wiretap? Second, it allows the roving wiretap so once you find a target, if he’s using cell phones, for example, you can go and find them wherever he is. And third, you can use the information in a criminal investigation and the combination gives you the situation where there’s very little standard, and you can essentially conduct a criminal investigation without probable cause. If you have, for example, a target, who is using cell phones, you get the the wiretap, he uses a payphone, you can listen to anybody using the payphone. If he’s in a club or organization, in a business, you can go on you tap the phones there, if he’s visiting the democratic national headquarters, maybe you can tap all the phones there.
- 1:29:47 Rep. Bobby Scott: There are provisions that allow attention under certain circumstances that may be indefinite, we expand the ability of the government to conduct secret searches and so called sneak and peek where you don’t tell people they’re even being investigated. And you can start targeting domestic organizations, designated domestic groups, as terrorist groups and you can start getting the CIA into designating these groups as targets for criminal investigations. There’s a lot in this bill that we have not appropriately considered. And that’s why we need more time to think of it because it goes way past terrorism. This is the way you’re going to be conducting criminal investigations and therefore the bill ought to be defeated.
- 1:39:09 Rep. Spencer Bachus: You know, we may not have understood and appreciated the word “terrorism” and what terrorists were before September 11. We certainly do today. We know who they are. We know what they’re capable of. We may not have appreciated the need for this legislation before September 11, but surely today, we appreciate the need for this legislation and the urgency of such legislation.
- 1:44:04 Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: I’m concerned that the legislation still permits the Attorney General indefinitely to incarcerate or detain non-citizens based on mere suspicion and to deny readmission to the United States of such non-citizens. I’m also concerned that the AG and the Secretary of State have the power to designate domestic terrorists. You might simply be paying dues and be declared part of a terrorist organization. It has widespread investigation of Americans just on the basis of intelligence purposes. It allows searches of highly personal financial records, and allows student records to be searched. I would say this, Mr. Speaker, let us show America’s character and bring forth a bill that all of us will find a good balance. We’ll review this bill but I hope that we’ll vote on a good bill and provide the leadership that we need to lead.
- 1:46:41 Rep. Marge Roukema: I would like to say to some of the naysayers that complain about the provisions, the question as to whether or not they deny due process or whatever. The question has been asked, Are we endangering the rights and privacy of innocent Americans? The answer is no. But it does give our law enforcement officials the requirements that they need for their careful investigation. It gives our regulators and law enforcement officials what they need to get the job done.
- 1:52:25 Rep. Zoe Lofgren: I would also like to note, however, that there’s been a lot of loose language among people who oppose this bill, and people are perfectly free to disagree with it, but it’s important that we not be incorrect about what’s actually in the bill. I actually heard someone say that the bill would provide for indefinite incarceration on a mere suspicion by the Attorney General, that’s simply not the case. The Attorney General may detain persons but he has to certify and he has to have reasonable reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals have involved in terrorism and that decision is reviewable by a court. So that is really the to say it’s a mere suspicion and indefinite is certainly not the case.
- 2:07:48 Rep. Mel Watt: Some groups in our country have had their rights violated, trampled on, by the law enforcement authorities in this country and so we don’t have the luxury of being able to just sit back and give authority, more authority, than is warranted, the authority possibly to abuse due process, to law enforcement, even in the context of what we’re going through now. This is a very difficult time. I acknowledge that it is. But I think we are giving the government and law enforcement too much authority in this bill.
- 2:18:15 Rep. Barney Frank: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know how I’m gonna vote on this bill yet, because I have this notion that in a bill of this weight, I ought to read it. So what I want to talk about now is my deep disappointment at the procedure. The gentleman from Wisconsin, the chair of the committee, has fought hard for a fair chance for the members to look at things. But on the whole, his efforts have not been honored. We now, for the second time, are debating on the floor a bill of very profound significance for the constitutional structure and security of our country and in neither case has any member been allowed to offer a single amendment. At no point in the debate in this very profound set of issues, have we had a procedure whereby the most democratic institution in our government, the House of Representatives, engages in democracy. Who decided that to defend democracy we had to degrade it? Who decided that the very openness and participation and debate and weighing of issues, who decided that was a defect at a time of crisis? This is a chance for us to show the world that democracy is a source of strength, that with our military strength and our determination and our unity of purpose goes to continued respect for the profound way in which our democracy functions. And this bill ironically, this bill which has been given all these high flying acronyms, it’s the Patriot bill, it’s the USA bill, it’s that stand up and sing the Star Spangled Banner bill, has been debated in the most undemocratic way possible. And that’s not worthy of this institution.
- 2:21:13 Rep. John Conyers: The members of the judiciary committee, who had a free and open debate, and then we came to a bill that even though imperfect, was unanimously agreed on. That was removed from us and we’re now debating at this hour of the night, with only two copies of the bill that we’re being asked to vote on available to the members on this side of the aisle.
- 2:22:18 Rep. John Conyers: Although I like the the money laundering provisions in the bill, I detest the work product that bears the name of my committee on it that has now been joined with this bill. And for this reason, as we close this debate, my inclination is not to support the bill.
- 2:23:12 Rep. James Sensenbrenner: Mr. Speaker, this is the latest step in a long process to attempt to pass a bill and send to the president that is vitally needed. It is vitally needed by our law enforcement officials, who are fighting the battle at home. We don’t know how this battle will be fought. We don’t know what tactics the enemy will take. We don’t know what agents the enemy will use. And what we need is we need to get the intelligence necessary to protect the people of the United States of America from whatever the enemy has planned up its sleeve.
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