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The Truth about the US Patriot Act

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posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 03:44 AM
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Life and Liberty.gov




"I personally believe that if these tools [in the Patriot Act] had been in law-and we have been trying to get them there for years-we would have caught those [9/11] terrorists. If these tools could help us now to track down the perpetrators-if they will help us in our continued pursuit of terrorists-then we should not hesitate to enact these measures into law. God willing, the legislation we pass today will enhance our abilities to protect and prevent the American people from ever again being violated as we were on September 11."


U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (UT)
(Congressional Record, October 25, 2001)


Myth: The ACLU claims that the Patriot Act "expands terrorism laws to include 'domestic terrorism' which could subject political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy." They also claim that it includes a "provision that might allow the actions of peaceful groups that dissent from government policy, such as Greenpeace, to be treated as 'domestic terrorism.'" (ACLU, February 11, 2003; ACLU fundraising letter, cited by Stuart Taylor in "UnPATRIOTic," National Journal, August 4, 2003)

Reality: The Patriot Act limits domestic terrorism to conduct that breaks criminal laws, endangering human life. "Peaceful groups that dissent from government policy" without breaking laws cannot be targeted. Peaceful political discourse and dissent is one of America's most cherished freedoms, and is not subject to investigation as domestic terrorism. Under the Patriot Act, the definition of "domestic terrorism" is limited to conduct that (1) violates federal or state criminal law and (2) is dangerous to human life. Therefore, peaceful political organizations engaging in political advocacy will obviously not come under this definition. (Patriot Act, Section 802)


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