On September 11, 2001 thousands of lives were lost as a result of the terrorist acts, yet millions were distressed by the infamous event. Americans experienced unfamiliar emotions, such as insecurity and fear. The Bush Administration exploited these intense emotions with the creation of the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is a controversial law that expands the powers of government agencies and destroys our precious civil liberties. The Patriot Act was passed forty-five days after September 11, when there was immense fear of following terrorist attacks (ACLU). Many congressmen were worried that they would be blamed for future attacks, so they "push[ed] aside fears that the bill . would trample civil liberties" (Dlouhy). The fear of terrorist attacks has lessened, yet individuals continue to sacrifice their natural rights. The Patriot Act is unconstitutional, because it violates the Bill of Rights, as well as current legislation, and must be removed.
Primarily, the Patriot Act is a violation of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, press, religion and peaceful assembly (US Constitution). However, the Patriot Act does not encourage people to speak, practice certain religions or participate in certain activities liberally. The Act expands the surveillance powers of government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and allows the FBI to monitor phone calls, electronic mail, websites and online purchases (ACLU). As a result, people may feel less free to speak their mind or participate in activities of which the government may not approve. According to the American Civil Liberties Union's former president, Norman Dorsen, "The Patriot Act provides the government with the authority to prosecute individuals especially those who sympathize with 'terrorist' groups" (Masci). In addition, expanded government surveillance allows the FBI to demand information from third parties.