The P.A.T.R.I.O.T: Unstoppable Defense

In the aftermath of September 11, the United States government took actions to prevent future attacks. Anumber of measures were taken to tighten security in and around transportation centers. Congress passed an act granting the government more control over suspected terrorists in the country. This act, the PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act, was finalized on October 24, 2001, a mere 43 days after the attacks on New York and Washington. The PATRIOTAct is a necessary step toward a safer, more secure post-September 11 America. However, those opposed to the PATRIOT Act argue that it violates the basic rights of United States citizens. The act was drafted for one reason: to protect the United States from foreign terrorists. The extreme measures of the act have been implemented in order to keep America safe and secure. The PATRIOT Act is “an act to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools…” Title I of the act covers the enhancement of domestic security against terrorism. Under its heading, a separate fund is created to aid in the protection against domestic terrorism. This fund’s main purpose is to reimburse any law enforcement agency for costs imposed on them regarding domestic terrorism. According to many critics, the PATRIOT act is simply racial profiling. However, Title I, section 102 of the act, condemns any racism against Arabs and Muslim Americans. The text clearly states that anyone caught committing acts of racism will be heavily fined and criminally charged. The act is not targeted at every Arab and Muslim American as some of its strong critics believe, but instead at suspected terrorists who have the potential to attack this country. The PATRIOT Act also fiscally provides for expanded use of FBI technology, specifically enhancing fingerprinting and facial recognition. Any agency will now be able to gain access to FBI databases containing information about known terrorists. This increase in cooperation among agencies will promote better communication and increase the number of apprehended terrorists. Title II of the act enhances the surveillance procedures against suspected terrorists. Spawning from the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Title II, Section 201 permits law enforcement agencies to “intercept wire oral and electronic communications related to terrorism.” Surveillance of terrorist activity domestically and abroad will effectively decrease terrorism in the United States. In addition to the enhancement of surveillance, Title II also promotes the exchange of investigative information pertaining to homeland security problems. In the event of a terrorist attack on the United States, the PATRIOT Act has created a system which provides financial support to the families of public safety officers who are injured or killed during an attack no more than 30 days after the event. Not only is the PATRIOT Act helping to secure the nation, it is plotting the course of action in the event of another terrorist attack. After September 11, compensation was distributed to victims’ families, but the government was unsure about the appropriate amount. The act has established a method of compensation for those who lose loved-ones in a terrorist attack. Title VIII pertains to the punishment of terrorists and those who harbor them. The PATRIOT Act increases the punishments for domestic terrorism against public transportation systems and public places. It has also increased the severity of the punishment for harboring terrorists and supplying them with materials and funds. The PATRIOT Act grants the government the power to monitor, apprehend, and question suspected terrorists if there is probable cause to do so. Heightened security in transportation centers, as well as stricter boarder regulations, will keep incoming and outgoing transportation free of terrorist activities. Granting more authority and funding to law enforcement agencies will result in the apprehension of more international terrorists. The act will make America a safer, more secure nation.