Talk:Patriot Act

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For the controversy section, see /controversy.

Not only was the following obviously a direct uncited quotation, a Yahoo! search revealed it to be from wikipedia! You'd think the Patriot Act page would be as closely followed as the page on evolution or unicorns!!

On March 9, 2007, a Justice Department audit found that the FBI had "improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information" about United States citizens. [1]

On June 15, 2007, following an internal audit finding that FBI agents abused a Patriot Act power more than 1000 times, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ordered the agency to begin turning over thousands of pages of documents related to the agency's national security letters program.[2]

On April 6, 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI over the USA PATRIOT Act's authority to demand that a business hand over records that may contain private financial or business information that is not pertinent to an ongoing investigation. The specific action in question was the request of the FBI for the account information for users of an Internet service provider.

Citing possible secrecy provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Department of Justice prevented the ACLU from releasing the text of a countersuit for three weeks. [4] After judicial and congressional oversight, sections of the countersuit that did not violate secrecy rules of the USA PATRIOT Act were released.

The lawsuit filed by the ACLU was dropped on October 27, 2006. ACLU stated it is withdrawing the lawsuit because of improvements to the law. "While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies," Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU.

In June 2005, the United States House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patriot Act provision that allows federal agents to examine people's book-reading habits at public libraries and bookstores as part of terrorism investigations.[5]

Jazzman831 17:58, 8 July 2007 (EDT)

Can you specifiy what the difference is between "the Bush administration's most reckless policies," and a Law past by the Legislative Branch. The above appears to be little more than twisted, veiled, and distorted criticism of the Bush administration. If the Bush administration were not enforcing a law passed by the Congress, that would be grounds for legitimate criticism. RobS 12:53, 9 July 2007 (EDT)
I take no responsibility for the content in the above statement. It was copied from Wikipedia onto this article and all I did was remove it from our page. I believe that part about the Bush administration has also since been removed from the Wikipedia article. Even so, I wouldn't get too riled up about the comment; it's so non specific Ms. Beeson really could have been talking about anything. Jazzman831 15:24, 9 July 2007 (EDT)
Good job. If it wasn't so subtle, this would probably be a good example for Bias in Wikipedia, but it would take more words to explain the subtlelty than the subtlelty itself. 16:16, 9 July 2007 (EDT)

Entering homes

Cut from article:

The act took away civil liberties law enforcement may enter a persons place of business or home without a warrant. We all know without a warrent it is unconstitutional to enter someones private property. Also the owner doesnt have to know about the search or invasion of his/her home or business

This needs references. What is your source? --Ed Poor Talk 14:21, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

As much as I dislike the Patriot Act, that quotation is either vandalism or a misunderstanding of how the act works. The Act allows, under very specific circumstances, so-called "sneak and peek" warrants, which are exactly as they sound. Law enforcement does need a warrant, but the suspect doesn't know about the search (until a certain time after the fact). These are performed when notifying the subject of the warrant could seriously hamper the investigation.
Later tonight (too burnt out from school right this moment) I will integrate the research paper I did on the Patriot Act last semester into this article. For now, the above explanation should suffice. JazzMan 16:21, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Done and done. JazzMan 21:20, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Correct name

I think this should this be moved to Patriot Act (for capitalization purposes) or USA PATRIOT Act (for complete name purposes). To me it makes more sense to have the full article at its correct name and then make Patriot act a redirect. Opinions? Jinkas 16:47, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Smooth work, TK my man. Jinkas 16:51, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
<edit conflict> I vote for USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which is technically it's full name. However, this link is really ugly, and most people won't know to use it. I'm not sure what our priorities are (or what theys should be). If we want clarity, we should stick with what we have; if we want technical correctness, we should move it to the most correct form. (Well technically Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 is the most correct, but that just breaches some boundaries of sensible practicality!!) JazzMan 16:55, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Usually the guideline would be accuracy coupled with common usage of the subject used for searching. "Patriot Act" would seem to me to be the common use. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 17:15, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Gotcha. JazzMan 17:20, 31 August 2007 (EDT)


Rob, it's clear you aren't reading my sources before you change my work. The Patriot Act was one of the fastest bills passed through Congress. Period. Other people have in the past proposed measures which were included in the bill, but those have no bearing on how fast this act was passed. Additionally, Ashcroft wanted the bill "passed by the end of the week" not "considered immediately". You are being overly hostile to my edits for not having actually read their source. Additionally, you are assuming bad faith on all my edits.

I know Ed Poor or TK will pop up and tell me I shouldn't edit if I don't want them reviewed relentlessly, but it's clear you have a vendetta against me and it's also clear you haven't read the source material. If you want to push away a good faith editor you are doing a great job (here and on other articles). Here's a quotation for you:

"When Attorney General John Ashcroft asked for the new law enforcement powers Sept. 19 — calling on Congress to clear a bill by the end of that week — Republicans and Democrats alike balked. The proposal included powers that the Justice Department had sought unsuccessfully for years." (Emphasis added).

Ashcroft pushed these measures, and asked it to be passed in less than a week. He still today takes credit for the Patriot Act; I saw him speak last year.

I'm not sure why you think it's such a bad thing that Bush might have written part of the Patriot Act (Conservapedia is in favor of GWB, correct?) but I don't remember which source I pulled that from right now. I'll leave that but correct the parts supported above. JazzMan 14:46, 1 September 2007 (EDT)

Nice try JazzMan, but the quote above is absolutlely meaningless without authorship. Now, let's start from the beginning, give the identity of authors and the source language for any reversion I make that you wish to argue over. Thank you.
P.S.: I'd advise against throwing around personal references such as you do above, (terms like "vendetta", or accusing people of lack of good faith; frankly, it is a waste of time, and does not address the issues under consideration whatsoever). Thank you again. Rob Smith 14:57, 1 September 2007 (EDT)
There's a reference right on the page!! It's the little [1] that links down to the bottom of the page. If I understand correctly, it's the same thing we do on every single page of this website.
P.S.: I wouldn't have to throw around personal references if I didn't truely believe that you are trying as hard as you can to prove I'm a Marxist who's been indocrinated by Marxist professors (which you have insinuated several times on talk:liberal). The coincidence is simply too large to be credible. JazzMan 15:10, 1 September 2007 (EDT)
Yes, I saw that. Unfortunely it is the Congressional Quarterly. And unfortunely I have too much first hand knowledge and direct experience with Kathryn Wolfe [1] and her anonymous editing and conflict of interest as Wikipedia Admin User:Katefan0. [2] So I'm not impressed at all with Congressional Quarterly. It still needs an authors name attached to it. Rob Smith 18:15, 1 September 2007 (EDT)
It's hard to keep track of who you guys don't like around here. There are no listed authors for the source; that's the full reference. Feel free to use your own (references, that is, not memories) if mine aren't good enough. JazzMan 20:13, 1 September 2007 (EDT)
It is and remains a questionable source; don't be surprised if portions are disallowed. Rob Smith 15:05, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
So you get to decide what sources are questionable, and you don't have to explain yourself or present any evidence contrary to my assertions? That's the way to foster a productive atmosphere. JazzMan 16:29, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
  • Here is what actually happened:

Before and just immediately after 9/11, there were many measures before Congress, many at the White House and Justice (some of them remainders from the Clinton Administration) that were intended to deal with improving intelligence gathering, and increase national security. There were hundreds in Congress and the Executive who were already worried about the terrorists before 9/11, you know. In the aftermath of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the airplane crash in PA, the big guns in Congress, Ashcroft and the people at the White House conducted lots of public and private meetings. Some of what are considered the most draconian components of the final act were included against the wishes of Justice and the White House, and vice-versa. That is how our government and legislative process works, like it or not. To claim Bush or Ashcroft (or even Rove) were the principle authors of the act is utter nonsense. Ashcroft was not alone in asking for the things he did, and had remarkable bi-partisan support in the Congress, mainly because his requests mirrored what was already in introduced or proposed legislation! I was there, and I can tell you there were dozens of really draconian ideas that the Administration and some Congressional leaders insisted be canned, mainly because they would have been hell to implement or administer, or were thought to be ultimately held un-Constitutional. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 19:34, 1 September 2007 (EDT)

Amen to this. I heard with my own two ears Newt Gingrich discuss these reforms in 1993, to say it was "rushed through" without much debate and consideration is balderdash. Rob Smith 15:05, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
Also, Ashcroft was doing his job as Attorney General and fiduciary of the public trust; he'd be crtiticized if failed to act in the wake of 9/11. I am rapidly tiring of this approach, that User:Jazzman (and yes, I named Jazzman by name) is using to suggest or imply Ashcroft is the reincarnation of Heinrich Himmler. I am rapidly loosing patience with this garbage. IOW, don't even attempt this crap. Rob Smith 15:10, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
Wow! So I guess when you said personal attacks weren't ok you were being a little dishonest? And when you said I shouldn't accuse you of assuming bad faith... it was because you didn't want me to know that you are secretly think that when I said "Ashcroft wrote the Patriot Act" (which he still takes credit for, by the way; I've heard the words out of his own mouth!! I might even have a recording of it somewhere) you thought I actually meant "Ashcroft is a dirty little neocon fascist"? Or is it that people with power get to make personal remarks, but lowly editors just have to sit there and take it like a fraternity pledge? I mean, I know I'm a Marxist and all (you know, because my user page says I'm the exact opposite, and I've made major contributions to anti-marxists pages, and I've never indicated any Marxist traits whatsoever, and of course, I've made over 1,000 edits to the mainspace and haven't managed to be permabanned -- I've got to be a Marxist!!), but gee, I thought I was still able to make serious edits to the site. Thank you, Rob, for helping me see the light! JazzMan 16:29, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
  • Even more hilarious is their notion that the POTUS was personally taking pen to paper and writing up the "legislation". Does anyone actually have any idea at all of a President's day, let alone their week, or the way our government works? They really want people to ignore the fact that Pelosi, Boxer, Kennedy and the usual cast couldn't insert enough abridgments to civil rights! Of course they would later claim they didn't want them, so long as they were allowed on the bandwagon when it was expedient to ride it. And later planned on removing the most helpful provisions, the better to appeal to the Internet Liberal nut jobs they count on to spread their filth. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 16:01, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
TK, I never meant that Bush or Ashcroft *literally* wrote the PA. I'm sorry if it wasn't clear enough, but I thought it was common usage to refer to the head of a government body as the decision-maker. Bush hardly makes any decisions all by himself, and we all know that, but we still say "Bush decided X" because it's more convenient. Feel free to change my wording to be more precise, but I was trying to be more concise. (Heh, I rhymed!). JazzMan 16:29, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
  • Yep, the President who was outdone by Dan Quayle who may actually have been able to spell "potato" given a third chance, now we are to believe can read and write above "My Pet Goat" level. Rob Smith 16:36, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
  • LOL....I almost deleted our "Goat" entry...let's leave the goat references to the moron brigade! --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 16:47, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

Wiki links....

I haven't looked to see who..but whoever is, please refrain from just adding linked phrases unless you plan to speedily create articles for them, okay? This article creates way too many red links, and no one is adding the pages for them. --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 18:13, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

It was me. I do plan to create articles for them (see here). But in the meantime, creating a redlink encourages other people to create articles, so I don't have to do it all myself! :p Additionally, not all of them are actually "red links," they just need a redirect. I find it's faster to link them first then check afterwards to see where I need to redirect the link. JazzMan 18:21, 2 September 2007 (EDT)
Touche! I'm working on it; Sundays are big homework nights... JazzMan 19:23, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

Sunset clauses

Which one do you care to use,

"The [Clinton] Administration's intelligence authorization legislative proposal sought repeal of the existing `sunset' clause, thus making the Secretary's intelligence commercial activities authority permanent. Senior officials from both the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency testified to the continuing and growing need for the Secretary to have this authority under certain circumstances to provide bona fide commercial cover that can withstand detailed investigation by hostile foreign intelligence services as well as domestic scrutiny. The conferees agreed to the extension of the authority. However, in view of the lack of a record of use thus far, Section 503 extends the authority for three years, instead of the permanent extension originally sought by the Administration.
"Sunset" clauses (provisions that phase out or cancel the plan at a specified date in the future), scheduled reviews and updates, and flexible language in the plans are all useful techniques to avoid overly rigid long-range plans.
  • Creating Strategic Vision, LONG-RANGE PLANNING FOR NATIONAL SECURITY, Perry M. Smith Jerrold P. Allen John H. Stewart II F. Douglas Whitehouse WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY NEWT GINGR1CH., 1987. [3] Rob Smith 14:18, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
I'm not saying Newt Gingrich didn't use sunset clauses; your sources among countless others show this to be true. Sunset clauses have been around, well, since laws have been around. What I am saying is that it's a bit of a reach to say that Gingrich (or Gingrich-style reforms) had anything to do with the sunset clauses in the Patriot Act. It's an obvious rhetorical attempt to give conservatives credit for something they didn't do. Liberals are the ones who have problems with parts of the Patriot Act, not conservatives, and it makes the most logical sense for liberals to be the ones to want to add sunset clauses to a bill with such large changes. Liberals are more likely to argue that the act is allowable in an emergency situation and conservatives are more likely to argue that the changes are needed for an ongoing fight with terror. If this isn't the case, and conservatives voluntarily constrained themselves in the spirit of cooperation, it needs to be properly referenced, especially considering there's already (sourced) language in the article which suggests otherwise. JazzMan 15:24, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
  • Seemingly so, however the "sunset clauses" fell out of use mainly, for several decades. Ronald Reagan brought them back into favor, along with Gingrich, and it became a hallmark of the times, as Rob said, for Speaker Gingrich to insist all enabling legislation for new programs, agencies, include such provisions. Imagine if Social Security had it....they would have actually had to do something to fix it! --şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 15:30, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
  • After the Contract With America, and internal House Reforms that allowed the FBI to investigate matters like William Jefferson, Gingrich popularized sunset clauses, which are now routine in matters such as the Bush Tax Cut of 2001. There was much demogoguery in recent elections, with an effort to create the impression based upon the six decade domination of the Congress by the Democratic party, that the Patriot Act was a permanent loss of freedoms, whereas it in fact it was slated to expire.
And if you'll do a Google search, I think you'd be surprised at some of the comments Gingrich himself made of the Patriot Act including its sunset clauses. Here again, don't confuse me with the facts. Rob Smith 21:19, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

Reasons opponents give for their objections

It's not enough to say, "Mr. X said it infringed our rights." We need to state what rights, how they are infringed; and better yet, give an analysis showing how those rights are balanced with other values - such as security.

For example, if the act allows the FBI to look at a terrorism suspect's notebook computer - to see whether he's planning to fly a plane into an office building - then what "rights" of that suspect are being violated? Would the Act permit evidence to used in court against him? Or would the intelligence simply be used to thwart a hijacking? Inquiring minds want to know.

Otherwise, it's just politics. As in, the following senators voted against it. --Ed Poor Talk 16:05, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

I don't think we should delete the section, at least not without re-writing it. Conservatives such as Jeff Flake and Ron Paul also have been critical of the Patriot Act, so it's not just a liberal thing. DanH 16:03, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Good. Since they are conservatives, maybe they have actual reasons for their objections - which we could then describe in detail. --Ed Poor Talk 16:05, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I wrote a lot of that section (but that's also the section which has the highest proportion of stuff other people wrote), so at least most of it isn't polemic, or not intentionally :)
There are definitely a lot of reasons that people legitimately don't like the Patriot Act; it's certainly not all just politics. Could I ask how to fix the section? The first paragraph is more general (as it's meant to be -- it's an introduction to the rest of the controversy section) but the next three paragraphs are a lot more specific, and are all cited. The last two paragraphs I did not write, and the first of those last two (confused yet?) has a fact tag that, last time I tried, I could not verify. Really I don't like this paragraph at all, because the first sentence is unverified and the second sentence is kind of silly: "the FBI promises that it didn't do anything wrong, based on its own self evaluation". I'm sure they did ;-)
So long story not very short, Ed, I would love to try and make the fixes needed to put that section back in! I'm just not 100% sure what can stay and what needs more work. HelpJazz 18:28, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

A friend of mine at Wikipedia worked several weeks on their Patriot Act article and asked me for a critique. I gave him one, maybe I can find the email. He was infuriated at first, but calmed down a few days later and said I was right.

I suspect the main (only?) reason people are against the act is that it really does something to stop foreign terrorism - other than invading a country. And the last thing Democrats or liberals (like there's a difference?) want is for Bush to actually succeed in stopping terrorism. Because that would (a) make it hard for them to get elected on the grounds of his 'ineffectiveness' and (b) because they sympathize with the aims of the terrorists.

If there's anyone who really thinks civil liberties of ordinary non-terrorists might be infringed, I'd love to hear about it. But remember that when the Clinton White House looked at 800 confidential FBI files of domestic political opponents, no one batted an eye; while one office break-in forced Nixon to resign. Let's not have any hidden double standards. --Ed Poor Talk 18:35, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

I can personally tell you that that is not true. I voted for Bush in 2004 (too young in 2000 but I would have voted for him then as well), and I would love to be able to say that he reduced terrorism. I am not trying to get elected, and I certainly don't sympathize with terrorists. I'm not the only one here, some very reputible conservative/libertarian sources (Ron Paul, as Dan said, and the Cato Institute are two of my favorites) also think that the Patriot Act is infringing real rights. I gave three examples in the article, and I'm sure there are many, many more. Keep in mind that many libertarian-minded individuals hold the right to privacy and the right of self-government in very high standards; surely the vast majoraty of them (us) hold it high enough to keep it out of the political muck. HelpJazz 18:58, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

(moved my comment down to bottom, new section --Ed Poor Talk 10:45, 9 April 2008 (EDT))

There's no reason we can't include talk about the Clinton violations as well as these. Right or wrong, objections to the Patriot Act have been very controversial and well noted in the news, and we can't simply ignore controversy simply for the sake of political expediency if we are to be an informative encyclopedia. DanH 18:37, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Agree with Dan.
A “conservative” encyclopedia needs to provide “equal time”? In presenting its Christian/Friendly-Conservative/Friendly message to the world, are we perhaps being trapped into going overboard in stating opposition to things like the Patriot Act, and all the rest? Seems to me we allot more than sufficient time and space, than morally required to do so, to what “others think”. It occurs to me we are being manipulated, under the guise of some intellectual standard, defined by liberals, to including refutations on every point, to what we think, rather than just summarizing opposition (liberal) thoughts. Just my opinion, and I of course could be wrong. --₮K/Talk 18:41, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I agree, there's no need to completely deconstruct the whole act. I thought that the original criticism section was short and to the point. What did you think about it? HelpJazz 18:59, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I don't see how this is a black or white conservative vs. liberal issue. Opposition to portions of the Patriot Act is not inherently liberal, so I can agre with more or less the entirety of TK's post without asserting that it applies here. DanH 20:49, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Controversy section

I have restored the section at /controversy so that we can flesh it out. Given that the controversy is mainly what the act is known for to the average citizen, we must have information on it one way or the other. DanH 20:13, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Well, now that it is a sysop matter, I know I won't be touching it! I am sure you guys can work it out. Just remember we have no need to provide equal time to crying liberals.  :P --₮K/Talk 20:57, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
It's not just a sysop matter. All users' input is welcome there, and I won't stand for any germane comments being reverted or removed in an attempt to find a compromise here. DanH 20:59, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Referring to HelpJazz above:

You can personally tell me 'what is not true? And in what way are you or I "notable" sources?

We are just amateur writers. Anything we write needs to be backed up with a source.

And once again, I ask you: don't just say that the act was opposed by a large number of people. That's common knowledge. Tell us something we don't know, such as the specific civil liberties which opponents claim would be violated. Will your rights be violated? Are you planning to make a phone call to Pakistan or Iran? You don't want someone listening in?

Who says it violates your "rights" if a computer flags your overseas phone conversation for an analyst to transcribe it, if you mention keywords like "hijack" or "bomb" in English or Arabic? And is there any government official or political candidate or author or columnists who says that American citizens ought to have the right to discuss bombs and hijackings on the phone between the US and foreign countries? (Recall that joking about a hijacking gets you immediately expelled from even a domestic flight; all comments are taken seriously. Does anyone considered that "violation of civil rights"?

Note carefully!! I am not arguing about whether these ideas are right or wrong; let's not get sidetracked!! I want you to think about the reasons critics give (if any), and then put these reasons in the controversy (or "opposition") section.

I'm not inviting you to a debate. I'm asking you to help me write the article.

Get it now? --Ed Poor Talk 10:42, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

I get what you want, and I don't think my opinion should be put into the article. You had said "If there's anyone who really thinks civil liberties of ordinary non-terrorists might be infringed, I'd love to hear about it" and I gave you three examples, one of which I know intimately :) I will try and find specific sources for you, but off the top of my head I can say yes, there are people who are worried that the civil liberties of innocents (and non-innocents; criminals have rights too!) are being infringed by the Patriot Act. Give me a couple hours and I can draft some article-type text to show you what I mean. HelpJazz 16:07, 9 April 2008 (EDT) PS: Three examples are already there, in the article. Can you tell me what I need to do to fix them?
With more than a little trepidation, I made some suggestions on the controversy talk page, using strikes to indicate portions I consider speculation or not pertinent to the article, such as silly state and city resolutions, since those bodies actions, by their liberal dominated, mostly ill-informed members, have no standing as to Federal policy. --₮K/Talk 14:53, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I agree with the strikeouts if not for the reasons :) I'll explain more on that page in a minute. HelpJazz 16:07, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Surely we can all agree that, for the most part, city councils and state legislatures are composed of mostly ignorant fools, no?  :P --₮K/Talk 16:14, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Hey, my dad used to be on city council! But he was the exception to the rule, of course. :) (Andy why stop at the state? I take it all the way up! When I finished my Econ 101 course my professor said "congratulations, class. You now know more about economics than 80% of Congress"!). HelpJazz 16:21, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

Yes, sir...I meant to exclude the learned Mr. Jazz! Apologies. --₮K/Talk 16:25, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

Not a bad article

Hi, I wrote most of the current version of the Wikipedia USA PATRIOT Act, and I'd just like to say that I think that this is actually not a bad article! - Tbsdy 07:50, 11 November 2009 (EST)