Patriot Act Essay

In her article, Cathy Zeljak maintains that the Patriot Act has infringed on Americans’ civil liberties, particularly the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal searches and surveillance. Using the recent history of legal decisions on law enforcement agencies’ information-gathering practices, the author argues that the Patriot Act strips citizens of the legal protections they received in the late 1970s.

Throughout the piece, she asks, “Are we sacrificing essential liberties in the fight against terrorism? (Zeljak, 2004, p. 69), and her answer (the overriding thesis of this article) is “yes.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Patriot Act Essay
GET AN ESSAY WRITTEN FOR YOU FROM AS LOW AS $13/PAGE
Order Essay

” Zeljak argues that the Patriot Act undermines both the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Act, which was passed in 1978 to impose guidelines on government surveillance of private citizens. Before then, government surveillance of citizens lacked clear guidelines, and government agencies behaved arbitrarily as a result.

Supposed “threats,” like antiwar activists and civil-rights leaders like Martin Luther King, were frequently monitored and harassed. The FISA Act aimed to curb these abuses and placed more legal guidelines on federal surveillance, requiring that foreign intelligence had to be a primary cause for issuing a warrant to conduct surveillance on an individual.

However, the Patriot Act has removed many of the FISA Act’s protections, now allowing warrants to be issued with foreign intelligence purposes as only a tangential reason, not a primary cause.

In addition, law enforcement officials may now seize a wider array of records, using the broad definition “any tangible thing” (Zeljak, 2004, p. 70) instead of the narrow lists specified by the FISA Act. The Patriot Act also allows government agencies to spy on innocent third parties as a means of obtaining information about primary suspects, further weakening the Fourth Amendment’s protections, and it allows agencies to share information more freely, without letting accused individuals known what evidence exists against them.

In March 2002, FISC rejected John Ashcroft’s proposals to allow law enforcement officials broader access to (and use of) information gathered under the Patriot Act. In effect, says Zeljak, this “transferred fundamental rights away from individual citizens, greatly increasing the authority of intelligence and investigative agencies” (Zeljak, 2004, p. 70). FISA warrants can thus be used for criminal investigations without clear probable cause.

Zeljak also claims that, despite two court defeats on this issue, the Bush administration hopes to further expand its surveillance and prosecutory powers with Patriot Act II, which would automatically grant federal agents who conduct illegal searches complete immunity and allow the government to deport American citizens found guilty of helping terrorist organizations.

Basically, she maintains, such an expansion of the Patriot Act would allow the government near-total freedom to conduct investigations with few legal guidelines, and would considerably curtail citizens’ protections and civil liberties. Zeljak concludes the article by stating that “Americans must wonder whether we are sacrificing essential liberties in the fight against terrorism,” and ends with a provocative question: “. . . have the terrorists already won the opening round? ” (Zeljak, 2004, p. 0)

Zeljak takes a clear stance against the Patriot Act, considering it a flagrant violation of American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights against illegal surveillance. She asserts that the FISA Act has essentially been gutted and that plans to widen the Patriot Act would further deprive citizens of legal protection, making their rights meaningless in the name of intelligence gathering. Her concluding question implies that, with the Patriot Act, democracy has been undermined.

Grand Paper Writers
Order NOW For A 10% Discount!
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Our Advantages

Plagiarism Free Papers

All papers are written by the best professional writers to ensure 100% originality. We always provide plagiarism reports whenever we deliver completed papers.

Free Revisions

All papers by Grand Paper Writers are completed and submitted on time. This timely delivery of papers gives you time to go through the paper before the official deadline.

Title-page

As an additional service, we will provide a title page that precedes the contents of your paper. Here, you will provide your personal details.

Bibliography

We also ensure that we provide an extra page for the references or bibliographies following referencing rules.

Originality & Security

At Grandpaperwriters.com, we guarantee students for the provision of security and original work. All your personal information is handled with confidentiality and is not shared with third parties. Additionally, we ensure that we provide original content with accompanying plagiarism reports to show originality.

24/7 Customer Support

Our customer support team is always available 24/7 to provide instant responses to any queries raised by students.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

Grandpaperwriters.com has the best professional essay writers for quality services.

Pricing

Flexible Pricing

Here, a Grandpaperwriters.com, we do not compromise on the time of our clients. We always deliver all completed papers on or before the deadlines.

Communication

Admission Help & Client-Writer Contact

Grandpaperwriters.com provides an interactive portal where students can communicate directly to their writers.

Deadlines

Paper Submission

Here, a Grandpaperwriters.com, we do not compromise on the time of our clients. We always deliver all completed papers on or before the deadlines.

Reviews

Customer Feedback

Grandpaperwriters.com appreciates feedback from our clients to help us improve the delivery of essay writing services. As such, we are constantly changing our policies to ensure maximum customer and writer satisfaction.