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The USA Patriot Act

The Act of Congress, signed into law on October 26, 2001 by President Bush was known as the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”, or USA PATRIOT. On May 31, 2015, lawmakers were unable to come to agreement and three major provisions of the act have expired and are no longer available for counter terrorism efforts.

Provision 1: Authorities are no longer permitted to conduct bulk data collection on US citizens and store that data for up to five years.

Provision 2: Authorities will not be permitted to conduct bulk wiretap on an individual in the event that they change phones repeatedly.

Provision 3: Authorities will no longer be able to use counter terrorism tools against individuals that do not fall under recognized terror groups.

These changes impact a significant amount of investigations, but it is important to note that any investigations which were initiated prior to June 1, 2015 may continue to utilize these activities. Any new investigations will not be able to utilize these provisions.

NSA RallyThis begs to question how susceptible this will make the United States to terrorism. It is important to note that multiple review boards, to include a presidential one, identified that the bulk data collection has resulted in the prevention of zero terror plots. This is relevant because it has been often referred to as a necessary component and tool for protection. Much like the Transportation Security Administration, which recently failed 95% of breach tests, the failure to prevent terror attacks is disconcerting when weighed against the negative aspects of the programs.

The bulk data collection has long been debated due to the fact that it debatably violates the fourth Amendment, which prohibits the unlawful search and seizure and requires a warrant … supported by probable cause. Since the data and phone calls are taken without a search warrant, it has created a significant fight by activists on both sides of the line.

So how far should we go as a country to ensure that terrorist attacks do not occur? First, it is vitally important to understand that this is impossible. A nation can protect itself through many means, but since terrorist attacks can from people both inside and outside of the borders, no amount of security will prevent all attacks.

The rights of the people are integral to what makes this nation as strong as it is. The founding fathers did not imagine a police state where people fear their government or extradition – and neither should we today. The reality is that these provisions were enacted as a direct result to fear. On September 11, 2001 we were afraid. We had just lost thousands of people to a heinous attack which took us to our knees. As a nation we were supported on that day by nearly the entire world. People who had never met us, shared our loss.

A country should not allow itself to be ruled by fear. This transition period may in fact allow us to reconsider the tools we created, and determine whether or not they are in fact necessary to continue our way of life. It is important to look back from time to time, to reassess, and to adapt where necessary. Considering the cost to our liberties and the lack of benefits, it may be time to let these provisions go.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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1 thought on “The USA Patriot Act

  1. How quaint. The shadow government does not respect the Constitution or laws. Democracy and security are mere spectacle and theater. We are under attack by enemies foreign AND domestic. To pretend otherwise further entrenches their power, my friend.

    Constant vigilance.

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