Signed into a law on October 26, 2001, the PATRIOT Act was proposed and implemented in direct response to September 11. Though the act made amendments to over 15 statutes, it was passed into law with little debate. Since its passage, the PATRIOT Act has been used to expand warrantless government surveillance. Despite the expiration of several of the most controversial “sunset provisions” over the past several years, Congress has continued to extend the Act.

Per a Huffington Post article Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he voted for the act in 2001 ‘while ground zero was still burning.’ But ‘I soon realized it gave too much power to government without enough judicial and congressional oversight.'” With Senator Russ Feingold, Senator Durbin led a campaign to replace the PATRIOT Act with the JUSTICE Act, which would have reformed surveillance laws to maintain important security measures while restoring protections to basic civil liberties.

Check out the former head of the ACLU discussing the PATRIOT ACT in this video.

Find out more information about the PATRIOT Act issues from our partners, including:

  • Defending Rights and Dissent: Defending Rights and Dissent, a joining of the former Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation, is a national non-profit grassroots organization working to defend the rule of law and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies.  The organization has spearheaded a campaign to oppose the PATRIOT Act through city council resolutions.

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