Power Corrupts: The US Patriot Act

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There is a saying: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As long as there are people in the world with the intention to do harm, or crime, (which unfortunately is a great percent of mankind), there will be abuse and corruption. The Criminal Justice System was implemented to protect against such acts against citizens of the United States. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The implementation of the U.S. Patriot Act in 2001 is an example of such massive abuse of power that has ultimately led to countless unjust arrests, unjust government surveillance on citizens, and most importantly it has stripped U.S. citizens of their civil liberties. The USA Patriot Act, as it is officially known, is an acronym for “Uniting and…show more content…
Moving forward, one of the highlighted key factors of the Patriot Act is the enhancing of the United State’s government surveillance. With the government access to such great personal information with the help of the Patriot Act, it makes citizens look guilty. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, (2017) between 2003 and 2006 (which is only 3 years), the FBI published 192,499 National Security Letters, in which led to 1 terrorist-related conviction, in which could have happened without the help of the US Patriot Act. Also between the TWO years from 2003 to 2005, the FBI made 53 reported criminal references to prosecutors as a result of 143,074 national security letters, in which 0 of all NSLs were about terrorism. (ACLU, 2017) And if that is not enough proof to convince the public that there is some kind of abuse, then the evidence of abuse of regular coherent citizens should surely sway the public opinion. The Patriot Act does not mandate information obtained by the NSLs to be thrown away, even if the information is determined to be from compliant citizens. This can even be seen in the scandal from Verizon in 2013, where a Guardian report disclosed a classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order instructing Verizon (which is one of the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States) to hand over phone records of millions of Americans to the NSA. (Domingo, 2013) According to the Washington Post, another secret program, named…show more content…
There is no easy way to say “let’s just get rid of the Patriot Act as a whole.” As it was described in the beginning, it is an acronym, swearing that the government will protect its citizens from terrorism. It is justifiable in a sense that after the attacks on 9/11, the government needed to take the offensive in the war against terror. It is not justifiable that after passing such anti-terror legislation, that the government abuses/and restricts the citizens of the United States of their constitutional rights. Most importantly, THE BILL OF RIGHTS. Congress as of early 2015 is becoming more and more aware of such unconstitutional tactics that agencies such as the FBI, or NSA are implementing on citizens, and deemed that the Patriot act needs to be reformed, even though it was only a little bit of a reformation. The House passed the USA Freedom Act which would attempt to restrain the nation’s surveillance state, while expanding other key parts that are supposed to expire by the end of 2015. (Miller, 2015) This means that the NSA would completely stop the programs mentioned by whistle blower Edward Snowden, and make NSA tactics more clear, and public for citizens to see. This was a little victory for the citizens who are burdened by the Patriot Act, but definitely something

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