The commitment to expanding the Nation.s legal resources was further expanded in a speech to the FBI promising tools to help increase the Bureau’s ability to track suspects and stop terrorism (Bush, 2001, September 25). The USA PATRIOT act was one of the results of these promises.
The Patriot Act has been one of the most controversial and debated legislation in the United States for the last decade. The official name of the Patriot Act is the USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (H.R. 3162, 2001). As Nunberg (2005) points out, the title of the Patriot Act alone represents a carefully crafted piece of legislation and practically it meant to impact American audience to associate this new law with various positive attributes connected to patriotism. From the legislative perspective, the Patriot Act changes, expands or adds to many existing laws. It normatively expands the power of the presidency, changed the regulations required for gaining permission to use surveillance, altered the regulations required for gaining a warrant, and made it significantly easier for law enforcement agencies to subpoena personal records from a variety of sources (H.R. 3162, 2001). For instance, the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2004 granted the FBI authority to obtain financial records from various institutions without obtaining a court order. Authorized by Section 2709 (c) of the U. S. A. Patriot Act, the process becomes remarkably simple: the so-called National Security Letter (NSL) is drafted by an FBI field agent and accompanied by his claim that the information sought is relevant to a National security investigation. Virtually unlimited in scope and authority, the letters granted FBI agents authority to retrieve and examine whatever records they felt were pertinent to an investigation. There was no court involvement; there was no