the freedom of speech and assembly (First Amendment); the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment); the right to due process of law (Fifth Amendment); the right to a speedy, public and fair trial along with the right to counsel and to confront the accuser (Sixth Amendment), the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment) and freedom from punishment without conviction (13th Amendment).
According to the Justice Department, the PATRIOT Act gives support to and encourages enhanced sharing of information among various law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels. In addition, this law assists law enforcement in their efforts to “connect the dots” from a wider scope of agencies when assembling evidence so as to “develop a complete picture” regarding possible threats from terrorists (Ward, 2002). The PATRIOT Act gives law enforcement more latitude when attempting to intercept transmissions of ‘suspected terrorist’s’ discussions via electronic surveillance. Agents of the government can now secretly tap into any citizen’s phone calls or internet communications including all visited web sites (Rackow, 2002). If directed by the Justice Department, police officers can enter people’s homes without benefit of a warrant and even seize their belongings and not ever have to inform the homeowner of the search. Individuals as well as religious and political organizations can legally be spied on by law enforcement agencies whether or not those agencies can produce any evidence a crime has or is planning to be committed.
In addition, citizens are denied their Fifth Amendment right of due process by the Act. They can be forcibly detained and refused access to an attorney with no evidence being supplied by which to justify this previously illegal action. Critics of the Act suggest that is in contradiction to the tenants of the First Amendment. As an example, a citizen can be identified and treated as