Since the incredible events of September 11, we Americans have had plenty to be concerned about: the nation has been grieving over the tragic loss of lives, nervous about the economic fall out from the attacks, reluctant to fly in commercial aircraft, anxious over the threat of bio-terrorism delivered via a once innocuous and common medium and, now perhaps, uneasy about the impending war with Iraq.Our flags have been waving to signal solidarity and love for our country, and many people have rediscovered a sense of pride and appreciation for all the United States upholds.
Another domestic concern should be added to our list.On October 26, 2001, a massive bill designed to combat terrorism was signed into law by President George W. Bush.The bill, a revision of legislation the Bush administration proposed barely a week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, was re-introduced in early October, 2001 and passed through both houses of Congress following little debate and no formal hearings.The USA PATRIOT Act (full title: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, H.R. 3162) grants federal authorities expanded surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers (Frieden, 2001).
Following the signing of the bill, Attorney General John Ashcroft, who reportedly had lobbied hard for the legislation, stated that federal agents would immediately begin exercising their new capabilities.Supporters of the bill contend it will help federal law enforcement agents prevent future terrorist attacks, rather than respond with prosecutions after the fact.Objections were raised about the manner in which the bill was hastily pushed through the voting process: Rep. Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, stated that the law was processed "in the most undemocratic way possible, and it is not worthy of this institution" (Dean, 2001).During the House debate, sponsors ad…