Last updated: July 17, 2019
Topic: LawIntelligence
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In her article. Cathy Zeljak maintains that the Patriot Act has infringed on Americans’ civil autonomies. peculiarly the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal hunts and surveillance. Using the recent history of legal determinations on jurisprudence enforcement agencies’ information-gathering patterns. the writer argues that the Patriot Act strips citizens of the legal protections they received in the late seventiess.

Throughout the piece. she asks. “Are we giving indispensable autonomies in the battle against terrorist act? ( Zeljak. 2004. p. 69 ) . and her reply ( the overruling thesis of this article ) is “yes. ” Zeljak argues that the Patriot Act undermines both the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ( FISA ) Act. which was passed in 1978 to enforce guidelines on authorities surveillance of private citizens. Before so. authorities surveillance of citizens lacked clear guidelines. and authorities bureaus behaved randomly as a consequence.

Supposed “threats. ” like antiwar militants and civil-rights leaders like Martin Luther King. were often monitored and harassed. The FISA Act aimed to control these maltreatments and placed more legal guidelines on federal surveillance. necessitating that foreign intelligence had to be a primary cause for publishing a warrant to carry on surveillance on an person. However. the Patriot Act has removed many of the FISA Act’s protections. now leting warrants to be issued with foreign intelligence intents as merely a digressive ground. non a primary cause.

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In add-on. jurisprudence enforcement functionaries may now prehend a wider array of records. utilizing the wide definition “any touchable thing” ( Zeljak. 2004. p. 70 ) alternatively of the narrow lists specified by the FISA Act. The Patriot Act besides allows authorities bureaus to descry on guiltless 3rd parties as a agency of obtaining information about primary suspects. further weakening the Fourth Amendment’s protections. and it allows bureaus to portion information more freely. without allowing accused persons known what grounds exists against them.

In March 2002. FISC rejected John Ashcroft’s proposals to let jurisprudence enforcement functionaries broader entree to ( and usage of ) information gathered under the Patriot Act. In consequence. says Zeljak. this “transferred cardinal rights off from single citizens. greatly increasing the authorization of intelligence and fact-finding agencies” ( Zeljak. 2004. p. 70 ) . FISA warrants can therefore be used for condemnable probes without clear likely cause.

Zeljak besides claims that. despite two tribunal lickings on this issue. the Bush disposal hopes to farther spread out its surveillance and prosecutory powers with Patriot Act II. which would automatically allow federal agents who conduct illegal hunts complete unsusceptibility and let the authorities to behave American citizens found guilty of assisting terrorist organisations.

Basically. she maintains. such an enlargement of the Patriot Act would let the authorities near-total freedom to carry on probes with few legal guidelines. and would well restrict citizens’ protections and civil autonomies. Zeljak concludes the article by saying that “Americans must inquire whether we are giving indispensable autonomies in the battle against terrorist act. ” and ends with a provocative inquiry: “ . . . have the terrorists already won the gap unit of ammunition? ” ( Zeljak. 2004. p. 0 )

Zeljak takes a clear stance against the Patriot Act. sing it a crying misdemeanor of American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights against illegal surveillance. She asserts that the FISA Act has basically been gutted and that plans to widen the Patriot Act would farther strip citizens of legal protection. doing their rights meaningless in the name of intelligence assemblage. Her reasoning inquiry implies that. with the Patriot Act. democracy has been undermined.