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[Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorists], 2001, U.S. federal law intended to give federal authorities increased abilities to combat international and domestic terrorism. Quickly enacted with little opposition in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade CenterWorld Trade Center,
former building complex in lower Manhattan, New York City, consisting of seven buildings and a shopping concourse on a 16-acre (6.5-hectare) site; it was destroyed by a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
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 and PentagonPentagon, the,
building accommodating the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Located in Arlington, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the Pentagon is a vast five-sided building designed by Los Angeles architect G. Edwin Bergstrom.
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, the USA PATRIOT Act primarily enlarged the powers of federal law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies when dealing with terror crimes, but sections of the extensive bill also apply to criminal acts generally. The number of terror-related offenses was also increased, and reporting requirements, crimes, and penalties associated with money laundering were expanded.

Civil libertarians, librarians, and others have protested changes made by the act that have the potential to lead to law-enforcement abuses, including reduced judicial oversight of wiretaps, expanded law-enforcement access to records held by third-party businesses and organizations, and an ambiguously broadened definition of providing material support to terrorists. Such concerns have been partly prompted by the fact that the USA PATRIOT Act was designed in part to reduce restrictions enacted in response to abuses of government power associated with Watergate, anti–Vietnam War protesters, civil-rights groups, and the like.

These worries contributed to the vocal opposition in 2003 to the Bush administration's draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act, an expansion of the USA PATRIOT Act that ultimately was not submitted to Congress. Similarly, the renewal of those sections of the act slated to expire at the end of 2005 became contentious enough that opponents in the Senate were able to stall legislation to make them permanent, but after some modifications were made to the act in 2006, the act was renewed and most sections became permanent.

Leaks in 2013 by Edward SnowdenSnowden, Edward Joseph,
1983–, American computer systems administrator and antigovernment activist, b. Elizabeth City, N.C. Snowden worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 2007 and then (2009) for private contractors and for the National Security Agency.
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 revealed that the act had been used to authorize the mass collection of telecommunications records by the National Security Agency; a federal appeals court ruled (2015) that such data collection with respect to domestic telephone calls was not permitted by the law. The USA FREEDOM Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring; 2015) subsequently altered that section of the USA PATRIOT Act, ending mass data collection by the NSA, and requiring a court order to review such records held by telecommunications companies. Other aspects of the law have been challenged in the courts, with varying results.

References in periodicals archive ?
No doubt, the latest sales pitch was simply Ashcroft's ham-handed way of softening up the press for the bruising lobbying ahead when he finally unveils his "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," better known as "Patriot Act II." Unfortunately for the attorney general, newspapers have already experienced the consequences of Patriot Act I and the related Homeland Security Act: the closed immigration hearings, unreportable secret arrests, and whole categories of information suddenly placed off-limits.
about the administration's lack of responsiveness to congressional oversight." Senator Feingold, the only senator to vote against Patriot Act I, said, "I have serious concerns ...
As Wyden admonished administration officials during a recent briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee: "There is a huge gap today between how you all are interpreting the Patriot Act and what the American people think the Patriot Act is all about.
Today, back at his construction company, Michels says he "ran into no voters that were not concerned about terrorism," and that "my point was that the PATRIOT Act is a tool that history has proven has not been abused." But by the end of 2004 this was becoming a minority view.
The Patriot Act is a massive piece of legislation, encompassing more than 150 provisions and, as voted on by Congress, almost 400 pages long.
The executive edicts, the war against Iraq, and the alleged use of torture have all elicited protest, but what differentiates the opposition to the Patriot Act is the fact that it has enabled the population to move beyond vocalizing dissent to retarding, and potentially reversing, the executive's inclination to carry out actions divorced from the will of the people.
An extremely important aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act is that it permits greater sharing of intelligence information between law enforcement and national security investigators, regardless of the source of the intelligence information.
President Bush says that the USA Patriot Act is "essential not only to pursuing and punishing terrorists, but also preventing more' atrocities [brutal or cruel acts]
CCH Guide to Anti--Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy: Compliance with the USA Patriot Act is a softbound volume produced by CCH, Inc.
"The Patriot Act is like a puzzle," says Tracy Mitrano, Cornell University's co-director of the Computer Policy and law program, and policy adviser in the Office of Information Technologies.
President Bush has repeatedly insisted that all of the Patriot Act is needed because "we're still at war," a war he boastfully claims was launched on "my decision" and nobody else's.
Much of the PATRIOT Act is not controversial and should be made permanent to guard against terrorism.