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  • Morning Bell: Patriot Act Facts

    Last night, despite a strong majority vote in favor of the bill, the House of Representatives fell seven votes short of the two-thirds they needed to suspend the rules and pass three key counterterrorism amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Many of the headlines you will read today will say things like “Patriot Act Extension Fails in House,” but the reality is that much of the PATRIOT Act was already permanently enacted. Of the three amendments to FISA at issue in last night’s vote, two were part of the original PATRIOT Act, one was part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and all are set to expire at the end of this month.

    Eight of the 26 Republican no votes came from freshmen who, Politico reports, “felt completely uninformed by their leadership.” Representative Todd Rokita (R–IN), who voted for the bill, even told Politico that he “didn’t know anything about [the vote] until today.” The three amendments voted on last night have been extensively modified over the years and now include significant new safeguards, including substantial court oversight. They include:

    Roving Surveillance Authority: Roving wiretaps have been used routinely by domestic law enforcement in standard criminal cases since the mid-1980s. However, national security agents did not have this garden-variety investigative tool until the passage of the PATRIOT Act in 2001. Section 206 of the PATRIOT Act allows law enforcement, after approval from the FISA court, to track a suspect as he moves from cell phone to cell phone. The government must first prove that there is “probable cause” to believe that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. It further requires continuous monitoring by the FISA court and substantial reporting requirements to that Court by the government.

    Business Record Orders: Domestic law enforcement, working with local prosecutors, routinely rely on business records through the course of their investigations, oftentimes through the use of a subpoena. However, national security agents did not have the same authority to acquire similar evidence prior to the passage of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. This provision allows law enforcement, with approval from the FISA court, to require disclosure of documents and other records from businesses and other institutions (third parties) without a suspect’s knowledge. The third-party recipients of 215 orders can even appeal any order to the FISA court.

    The Lone Wolf Provision: Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act allows law enforcement to track non-U.S. citizens acting alone to commit acts of terrorism that are not connected to an organized terrorist group or other foreign power. While the FBI has confirmed that this section has never actually been used, it needs to be available if the situation arises where a lone individual may seek to do harm to the United States.

    At least 36 known terrorist plots have been foiled since 9/11. The United States continues to face a serious threat of terrorism. National security investigators continue to need the above authorities to track down terror leads and dismantle plots before the public is any danger. Opponents of these provisions have produced little evidence of any PATRIOT Act misuse. All of the provisions above are subject to routine oversight by both the FISA court and Congress, and no single provision of the PATRIOT Act has ever been found unconstitutional. Congress should not let the sunset provisions expire and should instead seek permanent authorization.

    Read today’s Heritage Web Memo: Letting PATRIOT Act Provisions Expire Would Be Irresponsible

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    68 Responses to Morning Bell: Patriot Act Facts

    1. RUTH SC says:


    2. Mel Nelson, (Cary, N says:

      If these amendments are supposed to expire at the end of this month, why are they being voted on? Was the House trying to continue them?

    3. Byron, Fairfax, VA says:

      they need to get rid of the Patriot Act completely. At some point it is going to be used against US citizens who disagree with the government. For instance the Tea Party.

    4. Len Lisenbee, New Yo says:

      Personally I reject the renewal of the Patriot's Act, not because of what it permits various anti-terrorist organizations to lawfully do but because of WHO is currently weilding that lawful authority. I feel the Obama Administration would not hesitate to misuse the authority granted to them by this law against their own perceived enemies, with the Act as their cover should they be caught.

      It's really hell when you cannot trust your president, and the current occupant of the Oval Office has many times over proven he is completely untrustworthy.

    5. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      2- 9 -11 FROM – Ken Jarvis – LVKen7@Gmail.com

      Do you remember Pat Sajakto that is on the wheel of Fortune TV show

      one time he was on Joan Rivers TV talk show

      Joan told him that they were going to bring out his new wife later

      but she said the backstage crew was worried

      they were afraid the new wife was going to run into his walker on her tricycle.


      Nancy, Georgia on February 8th, 2011 at 1:31pm said:

      Please ignore Ken. He makes no sense.

      *** Thanks, Nancy

      2 Things HF does is -

      Work to Make Obama FAIL.

      If Obama Fails, the USA fails

      and NOT have a discussion place,

      but I do the best I can

      to bring TRUTH to the HF.


      Jeanne Stotler,Woodbridge, Va on February 8th, 2011 at 1:36pm said:

      KEN JARVIS, you owe those gentlemen apologies, your remarks are out of line. My step-father was 54 when my brother was born, my husband was 58 when our youngest son was born, these boys are now men, my brother had a very successful life and was a Co. supervisor in Lee Co. FLA. (Has lost his sight now) my son works for a company that is connected to space programs and the defense of our country from rockets, they did go to school, my mother worked and so did I. Don’t make assuptions as to the age of these sons Assume makes an ass/u/me

      *** Jeanne – Thanks for YOUR Take.


      Dave W. Provo. UT on February 8th, 2011 at 4:32pm said:

      Dear Ken J. All of us parents who have very right brained children are not as heartless as you. This son made it to the alternative chair of a major classical orchestra but couldn’t balance a checkbook. It takes them much longer to learn to live in a left brained dominant world. He had to learn how to learn in very different ways but now he is an honor student in science at a fine college. Thank God for a country that still allows people second and third chances. My relatives in the UK in a similar situation were forced by the Health Authorities to institutionalize their son who had much milder ADS problems. Now to today’s HF article– There is no cure in the one shoe fits all approach. Regulations should be drastically reduced and States allowed to experiment or we will end up strangling in endless government forms.

      *** Dave – OK

      HF NEEDS A discussion area.


    6. Mary............WI says:

      Sounds like some were sleeping on the job! Can't there be another vote?

      I too feel the threat of more terrorist attacks, even worse than 9/11, are on the increase. Governments job is to keep Americans safe and free. Hope they get it together….soon!

    7. Linda - USA says:

      I want to know if John Boehner is up to the job in the same way that Nancy Pelosi was clearly up to the job for her side. I can't stand her, but she got things done for her side. Do we have that same level of competence on our side?

    8. Andrew, VA says:

      Heritage brought this on itself. For months, it courted the Tea Party crowd. And now, it is shocked — shocked! — to find that when Tea Party members want "limited government," they really mean it.

    9. W. B. Cutler says:

      Nitpick, but "…uniformed…" might be "uninformed".?

    10. Johnny Hiott , State says:

      I disagree completely. Our government has grown by leaps and bounds and is increasingly corrupt. Power breeds abuse and contrary to wheather or not any specific item in the Patriot act has been found un-constitutional it is. When govt. has the authority to enter and search any home , company , business office etc. without a warrant issued for just cause it is a violation of our Constitution. Just as the appointment of czars and presidential directives are Un-constitutional. Our government should be investigated for Un-American activities and no less than 90% of them charged with treason. The unfortunate thing is that all three branches of govt. are in collusion with the destruction of our Constitution.

    11. MDidier - Galena (IL says:

      what about the constitutional protection against "unreasonable search and seizure"? I prefer liberty to government snooping into anybody's business without good cause

    12. toledofan says:

      It's pretty claear that the Republicans made a major blunder and counted the chickens before they were hartched. So, the lesson is for these guys to do a better job of communicating and making sure everything is in order, the votes are lined up and there aren't any major questions especially by the new people.

    13. Phyllis Bickham, Tex says:

      Why would any one not vote for these laws to stay in affect to protect the citizens of the USA. Whether they were terrorists or homegrown thugs, mafia bosses, drug lords or what ever. The law enforcement needs every thing they can get their hands on to keep law and order and if they are prevented from doing that because of some idiot in Washington saying NO, NO, you can;t do that then I say it may be time for some vigilante type law enforcement to take the law into their own hands and get the job done.

    14. AD - Downey CA says:

      "…Eight of the 26 Republican no votes came from freshmen who, Politico reports, “felt completely uniformed by their leadership.” …"

      And just what was the "uniform of the day" that was imposed upon these poor, unsuspecting waifs?

    15. D Bote says:

      Here is just another reason why I should no longer subscribe to heritage foundation.

      Mr Carroll needs to check his facts concerning the patriot act. For a foundation supposedly supporting the Constitution and bill of rights, the Patriot act violates all those principals. This and the Dept of home Land security & added powers given to other agencies, have set this country in a direction of what I call police-state-ism.

      Call it what you like, the Patriot act Dept of home land security have nothing to do

      with keeping us safe from the evil terrorist. This my friends is not true it has every thing to do with controlling and policing law abiding citizens. We are fighting in unjust wars in multiple countries for what ? defend our freedom ? spread democracy ? Last time I check our country was constitutional republic (right) and hear we are spreading mob rule democracy. I have come to the conclusion that fighting these illegal wars over the last 9 years has created more enemies than gained allies. When we bomb and kill innocent men, women and children

      (1/2 million) all in the name of fighting terrorism, we are only creating generations worth of enemies. Please consider this, If our country was invaded and occupied by a military force ( all in the name of fighting terrorism or defending there country)

      Our brothers, sisters, friends…ect being killed, detained & interrogated. ask yourself..what would you do? put yourself in that 14 year old son or daughter in Afghanistan, Iraq your entire family killed. What would you do? how would you feel about this military force. Forced to carry biometric retinal scanning identification, subject to your home being searched with out warrant and possible being held indefinitely with out reason. How would you feel if that happened here.

      My friends it has already started open your eyes.

      Thank you

    16. Phyllis Bickham, Tex says:

      Why would any one not vote for these laws to stay in affect to protect the citizens of the USA. Whether they were terrorists or homegrown thugs, mafia bosses, drug lords or what ever. The law enforcement needs every thing they can get their hands on to keep law and order and if they are prevented from doing that because of some idiot in Washington saying NO, NO, you can;t do that then I say it may be time for some vigilante type law enforcement to take the law into their own hands and get the job done. Of course, I may have been watching to much TV. I just love it when the good guy wins by whatever means necessary.

    17. linda , georgia says:

      I find your facts may be correct, however, just because no provision in the Patriot Act has been ruled unconstitutional, does not attest to it's Constitutionality. You spurred me to pull up the text of the PA and I have found that many things in it appear to repeatedly violate the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution and as could be, due to vague definitions, include innocent American citizens and violate the VI, VII, VIII, IX and many others.

      I was quite surprised to read this type of reasoning from The Heritage Foundation .http://www.foundry.org/2010/01/26/morning-bell-the-state-of-our-union/

      Conn Carroll….is your name a con?

    18. Jim, New Albany, Ohi says:

      Re: Patriot Act

      I may be uninformed as well as the freshmen Representatives. I've only heard and read things I do not like in regards to this Act. I would like to see it go away. I do not think it is doing anything positive. I do not like being labeled as a domestic terrorist because I'm ex-mlitary. It seems to only point fingers at good America Citizens and has done nothing to protect good American Citizens. I refuse to fly any more for any reason. And frankly, I am afraid that Obama might turn dictator and use this on true Americans.

    19. Mike, Chicago says:

      The wrongly named Patriot Act was an affront to freedom here, and only legitimized some of the activities that were already taking place. We don't need to give away any more freedoms for the general public when the country is providing protection for known war criminals instead of prosecuting them, and it the US isn't going to prosecute them we should send them to Switzerland and let them do the job.

    20. Jim, Bradner says:

      The biggest threat to our country these days is over-reaching government who disregards the law of the land which was created to ensure limitation and seperation of it's power. Don't talk to us about national security while ditching a missle defense shield which took years of international diplomacy to accomplish. Don't talk to us about national security while ratifying the START Treaty which makes us unnecessarily more vulnerable and a sitting duck for our enemies Don't talk to us about national security while masterfully executing the Cloward-Piven Strategy to destroy our currency, bankrupt our country, and jeopardize the U.S. with imminent catastrophic economic collapse, making us vulnerable sitting ducks for our enemies. Our government is on a mission to make us more vulnerable, but if society finally puts their foot down and says enough is enough and we don't approve of surveillance at every corner, checkout line, computer, even in our own homes, then society is to blame for compromising our national security? Are you kidding me? The Morning Bell is normally spot on with their analysis, but swung and missed miserably on this one. The Heritage Foundation has always been an outstanding establishment and hope that continues.

    21. Leith Wood says:

      Listen to Obama dance around questions about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the radical Muslim groups already in our country trying to destroy us. He is no help in the fight against an enemy, who is determined to destroy our way of life, which he abhors. Vote him out in 2012. He lies.

    22. Rich, Indiana says:

      I would love to see that list of 36 terrorist acts (in the USA) that have been stopped since 9/11. And with it I would like to see what they were, who was attempting to commit these acts, and how the Patriot Act is responsible for catching these people. Does anyone have such a list that is verifiable?

    23. David Gangwer Indian says:

      I read with interest the comment that the republicans were not fully advised by their leadership on the Patriot act extension. Why should they need to be advised by their leadership. IS IT NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE INFORMED??? Do they follow blindly or make up their minds based on their research and principles?

    24. Joy Crouch, Abilene says:

      Whether you agree with the vote or not, I think it is ridiculous to accept the excuse of the Freshman who voted against this that they were uninformed by the leadership. Do they expect the Speaker and Majority Leader to hold their hands and spoon feed them before every piece of legislation comes to the floor for a vote? We pay them to keep informed in advance. We even provide them with a legislative staff who have the responsibility of reviewing all pending legislation.

      If this is what we can expect from the Tea Party, we may want to go back to the drawing board.

    25. david arkansas says:

      there has been 36 known terrorist plots foiled give me a break, but you leave the border open. No border Patriot Act

    26. Dexter60, San Franci says:

      It is an ominous sign if 'the leadership' is now still in the grips of a timid approach to solving the problems of this regime. That is not leadership from the strengths of a principled position, but compromise to the point of complicity.

      Such leadership must be rejected before the loss of any more of our freedom.

      For one, being taxed to support any form of crime is the death knell of our republic and makes us all slaves to the most base elements of human nature of the few no matter what their name or cause.

      The fears and risks of freedom, if too much for our 'leaders,' we are better off without them right now — before they can assume enough power to prevent their removal or do more damage — citizens must do their primary duties to God, country and family. Today.

      Because we are at such a time today, where we are being tested in every quarter and at every level, by those who use our efforts and resources against us in every way they can.

      We have arrived at tyranny already, seductively clothed in comforts and false promises: the criminals now use the law as a weapon and scoff at the ever louder calls for law and order; they must be made to feel the sting of their abuses before their sorest victims extract a higher and more harsh penalty for which then we all must also pay.

      It is not an issue of political party, still a matter of the individual persons who either sees the Constituted Republic as a citizen, with a desire to serve — or as something that is much much less and is himself a mere user contributing nothing of positive value. Governance by the sociopathic.

      The warning light has already gone out.

      Are we still not ready to roll?

    27. Richard Small Tigard says:

      I think you mean "uninformed… not uniformed".

      Don't the new senators have staffs who advise of upcoming votes? Just because they are called a freshman doesn't mean they should act like one.

    28. Don H. Reuben, Ranch says:

      The Republicans better get their act together. Their performance to date is not inspiring. From my observation their greatest skill is to call at dinner time and pitch for money without a good explanation as to the use. The Speaker better take hold and show he is a as good a manager at least as Nancy!

    29. Joe Pochis says:

      Good, the whole Patriot Act needs to be abolished. The whole terriost agenda is a tool to take more of your freedoms away. And as usual the best way to do that is to make you afraid of some group or government. Patriot Act is one more step closer to total government control.

    30. shawn MN says:

      So the heritage foundation only defends the constitutions when it agrees? Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Benjamin Franklin

    31. Shawn, MN says:

      Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      Benjamin Franklin

      Are you at the Heritage foundation familiar with the 4th amendment

    32. Lil, San Diego says:

      Is it too much to hope for better communication between House GOP leadership and GOP members?

    33. Mark Galbraith, Mary says:

      I disagree with your stance on this renewal. The PATRIOT Act and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 are both unnecessary to the national security of the United States of America. All of the terrorist incidents in the last few years were brought to law enforcement attention by concerned citizens or conscience laden collaborators. In each case there was an awareness of the participants in law enforcement databases and detection systems but the minute details allowed the participants to slip through security nets. The fact of the matter is that unless we institute a complete and authoritative police state MOST of these incidents will still be reported and caught by concerned citizens rather than law enforcement. I don't know about you but I'd rather live with more Liberty than with less even with a little higher risk. In my view both of these laws need to be repealed.

    34. Brett, NJ says:

      The Patriot act is unconstitutional. I suggest that you reread the Fourth Amendment. I thought the Heritage Foundation supports the ideas of the Founding Fathers, Federalist Papers, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I must have been wrong. I think I will set up my constitutional tent up in Ron Paul's camp. He understands the government should not overstep it's constitutional boundaries in the name of keeping us safe. Thank you.

    35. Michael Fraley, Omah says:

      Your last sentense reads: "Congress should not let the sunset provisions expire and should instead seek permanent authorization."

      NO! Speaking as a common-sense conservative, can you really imagine the Founding Fathers making such law with NO SUNSET provision? Since, as they understood, the tendency for ANY state is toward totalitarianism, an laws such as this MUST be required to be reinacted periodically!

      What you propose is every bit as dangerous to our Republic, indeed more dangerous to us, as the Jihadist threat.

    36. donald rutledge, all says:

      the patriot act is unconstitutional.

    37. Tom, Colorado says:

      Mr Carroll,

      Find a blackboard (or a white board). Please copy the following, neatly, 500 times.

      "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    38. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      It seems to me that the Patriot Act is mostly a means to circumvent "political correctness." The notion that granny is going to strap on explosives and blow up a plane is about as likley as me winning the next lottery. While it could happen – I'm not counting on it. Most legislation appears to be attempts to correct previous ill conceived legislation. While it is job security for Congress, it is a major problem for the citizens (legal) of the United States. More legislation is not the answer, A smaller government is the answer.

    39. Kevin, California says:

      Wow, I rarely disagree with the Heritage Foundation, but there it is. The comments from your readers are right on. From the over-reach of the govt, to the quote by Benjamin Franklin, to the references to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I also suggest listening to Judge Andrew Napolitano to learn more about the unconstitutionality and dangers of this act. Regards,

    40. Ed Geiser says:

      The very name "Patriot Act" has our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves! Domestic terrorist activities are EXTREMELY overstated by our government. The REAL reason this act was approved is so the government could spy on its own citizens. Terrorists do not hate you and I,they hate our government,as most of us are not real fond of it either. It does more harm than good.(Can you say bankrupt?)

    41. VIctor says:

      Egypt and COMMUNIST China will soon have more FREEDOM than America.

      The ANTI-patriot act could be completely covered by current criminal laws.

      The ANTI-patriot act is just an assault on FREEDOM.

    42. Gwiz, Free Union, VA says:

      All of the following provisions of the Patriot Act violate the Constitution . . .

      * Roving wiretaps, where my calls can be monitored without specific warrant

      * The infamous "library provision" where The State can monitor my

      reading habits

      * National Security Letters that allow federal agents to spy on me without a Constitutional warrant, and where the service providers who share my private info can't tell me about it

      * Requirements that my bank report my financial activities to federal cops and bureaucrats

      This is only a partial list. Nearly everything in the Patriot Actviolates the Constitution

      Everyone agrees that terrorists should be caught and stopped. But before 9/11, the federal government already had all the tools it needed to prevent that attack. The failure to prevent 9-11 was due to incompetence, NOT the Constitution.

      Now, the Patriot Act has made federal incompetence more likely, NOT

      less. It has caused federal agents to lose their focus. The Justice Department's Inspector General reports that between 2003 and 2006 theFBI granted itself nearly 200,000 NSLs, but most of these were directed at innocent Americans, NOT potential terrorists.

      What this tells me is that you are endangering me, NOT protecting me.

      This kind of abuse is why the Constitution limits State power, because no mere human can be trusted to use unlimited power wisely.

      * The Patriot Act should not be a law because it was NOT read before it was passed.

      * The Patriot Act should not have been passed because it violates the Constitution

      * The Patriot Act would not have prevented 9-11, and it is NOT needed to combat future terrorist acts.

      * The Patriot Act has been constantly abused, in spite of the usual

      worthless political promises that it would not be.

    43. billd, Poughkeepsie says:

      When I was young I had a chemistry set and wanted to make a firecracker. Go to library and get info etc.

      Today, if I did this I could be flagged as a potential terriorist.

      This is wrong!!

      The Patriot act is too broad–it is a dangerous infringement on our freedom and needs to be cut back.

    44. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      This was Phase One. Phase One failed because some Republicans and Democrats,

      including Ron Paul, had concerns about civil liberties. Phase Two will be next month.

      Phase Two will succeed.

    45. Lauren Annapolis, MD says:

      The Patriot was a broad expansion of government whose greatest disappointment was the establishment of the Dept.of Homeland Security. Janet Napolitano continues to misused its power against the citizens of this country, most recently with the TSA searches at the major airports. These egregious searches will expand to other modes of transportation and places of congregation and will be deemed "necessary" for even commerce to take place.

      The misuse of power also targets our border states with the Dept. of Homeland Security acting against the best interest of the citizens of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California.

      The privacy and protection of citizenship was greatly compromised by the implementation of the Patriot Act and American's know it. Although I appreciate the positive spin, the Patriot Act may in fact be the vehicle the Federal Government uses to "speak" force to safety. It has removed a protective layer of interposition beween the citizen and the Federal Government.

      May I also mention that George W. Bush was a progressive Republican who expanded government way beyond what any constitutional conservative would have even imagined. Constitutional Republicans across all spectrums of political spheres are still trying to recover politically from his time in office. The vote in the House speaks to the greater concerns of the people.

    46. Larry Pensinger, Shi says:

      While this act clearly stands in violation of the Constitution, I might be willing to tolerate it if it actually worked to thwart terrorism. The government, with all of its wonderful intelligence tools couldn't even stop a terrorist attack on one of our own military bases that cost the lives of over a dozen of our service men and women and injured twice that many. If our over-reaching anti-terrorism rules can't keep terrorists out of our military officer ranks and off of our military installations, how in the hell do supporters of this government over-reach honestly believe that any part of the Patriot Act or FISA can keep the general population safe? It's ridiculous.

    47. Bobbie says:

      Grandma could be kidnapped by a terrorist or be a terrorist's grandma or a terrorist? You wouldn't think a child or woman would have a bomb on them either. The potential is there…

      It's just not comforting to have the "patriot act" in the hands of a leader that shows a definite disliking of America. Terrorists plots are mentioned by the number but doesn't describe how the "patriot act" was used to stop them?

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    49. and2therepublic, ill says:

      "A society of Americans which exalts virtue has [300] million policemen. A society that mocks virtue can't hire enough." – Michael Novak

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    51. Natalie, Denver says:

      What on God's green earth are they talking about. Why is Heritage focusing on DHS a couple of strengths of the Patriot Act while TSA exposes thousands a day to an unknown dose of radiation and they stick their hands down our pants, not only at airports, but now at the Super Bowl!!!

    52. Norm Klevens says:

      You nice idiots on the Left say the Patriot Act is an infringement of your rights. Unless you are a terrorist [I guess we can use the word now] or a criminal looking for a path, there is nothing that infringes on our rights. The useful idiots who complained about losing your rights in the Bush era, you are getting what you deserve now with infringing rights. Can you buy a light bulb without Mercury, can you have a bake sale, do you need a calorie chart from a vending machine and soon you will not be free to select your own doctor. Tell me, genius named Jarvis; what else do you wa

    53. Melissa, Valdosta says:

      The only counter terrorism measures we evr need to take are found in the Constitution. It's our responsibility to keep ourselves safe. The 2nd amendment is a very good tool to achieve this goall.

    54. Wayne, Louisiana says:

      I believe that the safe guards in the Patriot Act do little to thwart terror attacks. The recent shooting of the congresswoman is one such example. A good solid smart group of intelligence agencies would be able to offer solid protection for American Citizens. The Patriot Act seems to bring back Watergate. Spying on one's own citizens for political purposes!

    55. Kenny, Tampa FL says:

      After reading this article I must say my opinion of the Heritage Foundation has altered from a conservative, constitutionalist outlet to a neoconservative idealists organization that agrees with abuses of liberty and freedom increases our security. In the infamous words of Ben Franklin we know that losing liberties for security means that we do not deserve either (paraphrased). That being said the patriot act is completely unconstitutional by violating the rights and liberties of every US citizen and should not just be repealed but replaced with legislation to assure that it never happens again. Do you recall the alien and sedition acts … that loosely translates to the patriot act. Come on Heritage Foundation!!

    56. JohnL2 SC says:





    57. Bobbie says:

      I don't see where it is unconstitutional though, as terrorists are "unreasonable" we have to be protected to this extent which is reasonable considering the acts of terrorists.

    58. Bobbie says:

      I changed my mind after reading the 4th amendment a little more closely.

    59. Leon Hebert-- Wiscon says:

      " In God we trust " does anyone remember?, not in man,or the patriot act!

      I hope the highly respected Heritage foundation would reconsider their position on this issue!

    60. Matt, Rochester, NY says:

      I don't understand how anyone who believes in the U.S. Constitution can believe the PATRIOT act should not be abolished in its entirety. The entire homeland security apparatus is aimed at U.S. citizens, not foreign "terrorists", as Janet Napolitano said herself to congress yesterday:

      "One of the most striking elements of today's threat picture is that plots to attack America increasingly involve American residents and citizens. We are now operating under the assumption, based on the latest intelligence and recent arrests, that individuals prepared to carry out terrorist attacks and acts of violence might be in the United States"

      The article states that opponents to the PATRIOT act have little evidence of abuse. That is a specious argument, because : (1) Any abuse that occurs will likely be kept secret in the name of "security", and (2) We should not give the government unchecked powers to abuse us and just hope that they don't.

    61. Wayne, Louisiana says:


      I agree that the Patriot Act is directed at the suppression and abuse of it's own citizens. This is not to protect us from a foreign threat. They would have closed the borders a long time ago if this were the case.

    62. indy jones says:

      After seeing how government has abused and misused the drug laws and applies ever more militarized police forces against its citizens, I can not in good conscience support the patriot act. It will simply be used against us in the ever expanding gluttony of power that government continually seeks to employ against us in order to continue in power and steal from us.

    63. Jake Holmes, Washing says:

      "While this act clearly stands in violation of the Constitution, I might be willing to tolerate it if it actually worked to thwart terrorism." Seriously!?!?!?! How can you say that? What do you think will happen when the other side is in control? As long as it does … its ok if it violates the Constitution. That's scary!

      If you want an accurate take on the Patriot Act, check out http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb108/hb108-12….

    64. sweetpea says:

      Kudos to all you Americans who have done your homework and understand the tyrannical intent of this un-patriotic assault against our freedoms.

    65. Bill in Baltimore says:

      The article said "no single provision of the PATRIOT Act has ever been found unconstitutional"

      - is that true ?

      I was arguing in defense of this article and I was reminded of this court case, in Sept 2007, where Judge Ann Aiken, US District Court-Oregon, ruled that two provisions of the Patriot Act dealing with searches and intelligence gathering violate the Fourth Amendment.

      The ruling was a response to a lawsuit filed against the federal government by Brandon Mayfield, a Portland, Oregon, attorney who was wrongly arrested for alleged involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombing.

    66. C OBOYLE, DANBURY CT says:


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