The USA PATRIOT Act, passed on October 26, 2001, in the wake of the
September 11th terrorist attacks, grants sweeping new powers to law
enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities.
The Patriot Act offers a broad definition of terrorism which could
subject non-terrorist political groups to surveillance, wiretapping,
harassment, and criminal action:
(§802) Allows law enforcement to conduct secret searches, perform
roving wiretaps, and gain access to highly personal medical,
financial, mental health, and student records.
(§206 and §507) Authorizes law enforcement officials to force
librarians and booksellers to hand over book check-out and internet
(§215) Allows FBI agents to investigate citizens for criminal
activity without probable cause if they say it is for "intelligence
(§218) Allows law enforcement to search a person's home
without anyone present and to delay notification indefinitely.
For additional information, see:
Patriot Act in a Nutshell
For the full Patriot Act text, see:
US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services