“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin
Patriot Act
The Patriot Act in a Nutshell
The Associated Press, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks:

Freedom of association: To assist terror investigation, the government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.

Freedom of information: The government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public-records requests. "Sensitive" information has been removed from government Web sites.

Freedom of speech: The government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

Right to legal representation: The government may monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

Freedom from unreasonable searches: The government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

Right to a speedy and public trial: The government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

Right to liberty: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. "Enemy combatants" have been held incommunicado and refused attorneys.

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