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Connor Collins

10/12/15
English 211

Rogerian Argument
On October 26, 2001 George W, Bush signed into law one of the most
unlawful if not most unconstitutional act of all time, the US Patriot Act. The US
Patriot Act is an acronym that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by
Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. According
to the Department of Justice website the Patriot act essentially allows government
agencies to use just about whatever means necessary in order to find terrorists.
The act allows for a multitude of unlawful things which include everything from
espionage, unlawful warrants, and enhanced methods of interrogation in order to
uproot and terrorist that the agency doing the investigation believes. This law also
made it mandatory for other agencies to cooperate in any means necessary in order
to uncover any terrorist plots. This was all put in effect due to the events that
happened on 9/11 and this act may have been the declaration of war on terror
because of since this act was put into place we have used illicit means of finding
information.
Now I can understand how at the time this may have been a good idea
because everyone was in support on the war on terror after 9/11 so the president
had the public and congressional approval to do pretty much whatever he believed
would help to find the people in charge of these terrorist organizations and to find

the people behind 9/11. In the years 2001-2002 president Bush had almost a 90%
approval rating in office, that is absolutely unheard of for a president and because
of this he had all the power. At this point in time just about anything that was a
legitimate suggestion to combat the war on terror was put into considered and put
or put into effect. The US Patriot act is the culmination of all the terrible ideas
thought of and put into one giant unconstitutional bill.
While at the time the Us Patriot act may have been thought to be necessary,
but now it is more of a nuisance and source of mistrust for the government. In the
FBI have reported that the Us Patriot act was never actually a direct source of
finding any legitimate sources of terror. In fact there have been a multitude of
cases involving the US being found guilty of spying on and tapping ordinary
peoples phones in order to possibly find a lead to a possible terrorist organization.
For example in 2013 a former CIA employee by the name of Edward Snowden
revealed that while he was contacted at the NSA he had found numerous occasions
in which the US government had been using unlawful means of obtaining
information but all of this was okay because of the US patriot act. In fact Snowden
found the US government among others things had gotten a secret warrant which
allowed them to access and record all phone conversations, it also allowed agencies
like the NSA, CIA, and FBI the ability to collect text messages; now if that is not an
invasion of privacy then I would like to see how the US government defines it then
because I think listening to our phone calls and reading our text messages is
definitely crossing the line. It was also found that the NSA had a tool called
XKeyscore which is a program that is used in order to find out any and all things
that a certain user is looking for on/her computer. Thats not the only thing that was
revealed also though, it was also found the US was guilty of spying on other nations

as well as other world leaders. Now out of everything they could have done that is
most likely the worst because the last thing that any country wants to hear is that
an ally of theirs was found spying on their political leader. Honestly I am extremely
surprised that this leaked information did not cause an international incident.
The Us Patriot defines a domestic terrorist as a person engages in domestic
terrorism if they commit an act dangerous to human life and if the act is intended
to: i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; or ii) to affect the conduct of a
government by intimidation or coercion; or lastly iii) affect the conduct of a
government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. Now while this is a
very detailed definition it is still vague in certain parts of the definition. This
definition pretty much allows agencies to decide for themselves who they believe is
a potential threat. This vagueness is exactly the reason US agencies have found it
ok to do extensive spying on someone who may or may not be a terrorist. The worst
part about all of this is that the FBI had admitted that there were significant
terrorism cases found in result of the illegal snooping that the government had been
doing.
Now while in practice the US Patriot act is a completely unlawful and
unconstitutional act but, if you think about what its actual goals are it is a good
idea. In my own opinion the reason there is such a negative connotation with the
idea of the Patriot act is because the government ended up using it for illicit means
of snooping on both domestic and international scopes. Now I believe that if we
were to actually go back and rewrite the US Patriot act without all the allowed
snooping and purposeful loopholes then it would actually do some good. I mean
some of the things in the Patriot act are actually really good means of trying to
locate terrorists. For example the act allows for the agency that is doing the

investigation to do it in private in order to not tip off terrorists. Not only that though
it also allows the agency to access any companys records as a way to find if the
company is actually just a front for something else. I personally think that if the US
Patriot was amended from what it is now then I believe it would be much more
successful in actually catching terrorists. The actual written US Patriot act is a little
over 130 pages long, now that is absolutely ridiculous there is absolutely no reason
that this law needs to be that long. While yes most law are very long this is beyond
ridiculous the only reason it would need to be this long is because they included
way to many things into it. From my personal experience the most efficient things
are usually short sweet and to the point. For some reason whom ever wrote this
decided that they needed to include every single situation in which this could be
applied, but that is just dumb because you cant address a thousand problems with
just one law.
If this law was separated into multiple different acts and each act was tailored
towards a certain case then I think this would be a much more efficient way of using
this law. For example the often try to address the problem of immigration in the act,
which in my opinion has no business even being in a law focused on terrorism. Its
just irrelevant things in this act that is keeping this from being efficient. Another
example is that the act authorizes funds to be used in order to train DEA agents in
south and central Asia; now can someone please explain to me how authorizing DEA
training funds relates at all to domestic and international terrorism because last I
check the DEA stood for Drug Enforcement Agency and has absolutely nothing to do
with terrorism at all. Its just all these stupid things thrown into one giant law and
unless you actually take the time to sit down and read it (which I dont recommend
because it was honestly painful to read) then you would never actually realize what

is in it. Now imagine if we were to shorten that and make it relevant to the problem
at hand, think of all the things that could actually get done and then there wouldnt
be this huge unconstitutional act in place making multitudes of Americans angry
and even more distrusting of the governemt.