Patriot Act

March 8, 2017
By , valley cottage, NY

On October sixth 2001, a mere month after the infamous nine-eleven attacks, Congress met to discuss a bill. The congressmen voted in favor of the bill in an overwhelming ninety eight to one vote. The proposed bill that became an act was the Patriot  Act. The act gives many federal law enforcement agencies more tools that were meant to help in the fight against terrorism. Many people think this is a necessary thing, and the government should have all tools available to fight terrorism. Some even believe that the Patriot Act should be expanded. But others think that certain methods being used are unconstitutional and are looking for an amend of the act. It is clear that the Patriot Act is a necessary tool in the war against terrorism and should be expanded to give federal law enforcement agencies all necessary tools to prevent terrorism. The Patriot Act reduces terrorism, doesn't violate your constitutional right and should remain secretive. 

Since October 6, 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed, many acts of terrorism have been prevented: “ Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, at least 39 terror plots against the United States have been foiled thanks to domestic and international cooperation” (Carafano). Although no nine eleven scale terrorists attacks have been attempted in the United States. There were many smaller acts of terrorism that without the Patriot Act and the federal government’s new powers would have caused mass panic. The act has saved countless civilian and federal agent lives. The Patriot Act has also led to the conviction of 179 terrorists only four years after it was ratified (The Washington Times). The act is solely responsible for the prevention of many future terrorist plots against the United States. The act greatly prevents and reduces terrorism.

Contrary to many beliefs the Patriot Act is not a tool used for privacy invasions and is perfectly legal. The NSA follows many rules, regulations and must obtain permission to do any surveillance. “We only "spy" for valid foreign intelligence purposes, as authorized by law, with multiple layers of oversight, to ensure we don't abuse our authorities” (Clapper).   Due to the nature of communication methods which millions of people are using the NSA must look through all people to identify them as a threat or not. “The National Security Agency's collection of telephone and other communication data has been done entirely within the law; Americans are not being spied upon”(Clapper). The NSA is breaking no laws and is not violating any human or constitutional rights.

The Patriot Act is a surveillance act and like all surveillance to work it must be kept a secret.  Due to the secrecy of this Act no civilians know the extent of government surveillance. The only thing known about it is that there are many rules and regulations which stop the abuse of the surveillance (Clapper). For the surveillance to work, the general public must be left be left unknowing the nature of it. The release of surveillance files can be harmful and dangerous to the United States so it must be kept a secret. Edward Snowden, an infamous “hero” released many classified NSA files to the public. This put the lives of many people in danger for little purpose (Clapper). Edward Snowden brought much attention to the government surveillance. The public demands to understand the full extent of surveillance. The information released is a huge problem.  “the unauthorized disclosure of the details of these programs has been extremely damaging. These disclosures are threatening our ability to conduct intelligence, and to keep our country safe” (Clapper).  If the general population understood the government's surveillance then so could terrorists, allowing them to know how to evade suspicion. So in order for the act to be successful it must remain without civilian supervision.

Although the Patriot Act has saved countless lives many believe it should be amended. Some argue that it is a blatant invasion of privacy and that their privacy should remain private. The NSA also stretches the rules. They can legally track a million of phone records that they believe has made contact with a terrorist  (Gude).   Ayn Rand would oppose the patriot act: “a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him” (101-102). She firmly believes that the individual necessities should triumph the group necessities. Herman Hesse also shares similar beliefs to Ayn Rand: “I must judge,I must choose,I must spurn,purely for myself” (Hesse 87). In his eyes everybody should be able to decide for themselves what happens, which is a very individualistic thing. In this case they believes that individual privacy is more important than national security. And a world that chooses privacy over safety is not a safe world to live in. 

The Patriot Act focuses on the needs of the group triumphing over the needs of the individual. Most time the needs of the individual are the most important, this is not one of those times. The Patriot Act is necessary to provide the safety and well-being for the National community. Security should be attained no matter what has to be done to attain said security.

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