It was no patriots’ act

Major provisions of the controversial law were renewed with little objection.

Three primary provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act passed through Congress with no reform and were signed back into law Saturday. One of the freshly extended provisions allows the FBI to demand individual business, medical, educational and library records without probable cause. The FBI must simply say that the records may be related in some way to an investigation about terrorism. The second provision allows âÄúroving wiretaps,âÄù which allow the FBI to survey any communications by a given target without specifying what device is being monitored. This effectively allows the FBI to constantly monitor an individual as he or she communicates over time âÄî from a library computer, to a personal iPhone, to a home computer âÄî without having to inform the individual of the surveillance. The last provision, the âÄúlone wolfâÄù provision, allows intelligence agencies to monitor individual suspects absent any connection to a terrorist organization or foreign nation. American citizens, who purport to maintain the freest nation on earth and whose government officials justify nation-building by our own model governance, should be alarmed and embarrassed that laws so subversive to our fundamental values could be upheld so matter-of-factly, without public debate. Originally defended as an emergency, short-term security measure in a time of crisis, the PATRIOT Act should long since have been repealed. We cannot passively allow the nebulous and potentially indefinite fight against political dissidence, whether in the form of domestic extremism or foreign terrorism, to justify the ongoing curtailment of American freedoms.