The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act) is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.
The act, a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, dramatically reduced restrictions in law enforcement agencies’ gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.
On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups
During the full committee markup of H.R. 1800, by a vote of 22-13, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of extending the “business records” provision and “roving wiretap” authority until December 31, 2017, and to make the “lone wolf” provision permanent.
Wednesday 5/11/2011 – 10:00 a.m.
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
Mr. Patrick J. Rowan
McGuire Woods LLP
Former Congressman (GA-7)
Mr. Bruce Fein
Campaign for Liberty
Mr. Ed Mullins
Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Sensenbrenner, Gohmert, Goodlatte, Lungren, Chaffetz, Marino, Gowdy, Adams, Quayle, Conyers, Scott, Johnson, Chu, Jackson Lee, and Quigley
Staff present: (Majority) Caroline Lynch, Subcommittee Chief
Counsel; Lindsay Hamilton, Clerk; (Minority) Bobby Vassar, Subcommittee Chief Counsel; Sam Sokol, Counsel; Joe
Graupensberger, Counsel; and Veronica Eligan, Professional Staff Member.
Amendment IV :
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Writs of Assistance :
The “Writs of Assistance” were general warrants allowing officials to search for smuggled material within any suspected premises.