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The Price Of Freedom

            In wake of the September 11 tragedy, the federal government has found the need for legislation enabling the expansion of current police powers. Congress has just passed a new law enabling law enforcement agencies to do just that. On October 29, 2001 Congress enacted the Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act). Introduced in the house on October 23 and then signed by the President on October 25, make the USA Patriot Act one of the fastest moving bills in the history of Congress. The Act will grant federal and state law enforcement agencies multiple liberties and monies to protect the United States from acts of terrorism.
             The information below regarding the USA Patriot Act was obtained from the Congressional Information Service. The Act is extremely comprehensive, therefore; only the most important and controversial provisions have been included. First, the Act grants a great deal of aid to victims and funding for federal and state agencies. The law establishes a counter-terrorism fund. The fund will allocate money to agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), intelligence agencies, and establishes aid foundations for victims of terrorism. .
             Second, the USA Patriot Act suspends or essentially lessens some of the rights provided for in the Fourth Amendment. The Act grants the President the authority to confiscate any property of any foreign persons or organizations involved with or participating in acts of terrorism against then United States. The law also allows federal agencies to intercept oral, wire, or electronic communications relating to any form of computer fraud. This provision could mean that any person suspected of some sort of electronic violation would be subject to having their email and phone conversations recorded and used as evidence against them. Investigators have been granted the authority to tap any phone a terrorist may use rather than one single line.

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