NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 2, 2004

After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Congress overwhelmingly supported expanding and updating the powers of America's intelligence agencies through the Patriot Act.

A new report by the U.S. Department of Justice suggests the new legislation has been effective:

  • Since 9-11, the Patriot has been instrumental in the arrest of 310 terrorism suspects, 179 of whom have been convicted.
  • The War on Terror has been aided by the new law's updated surveillance rules which account for new technologies such as e-mail and cell phones.
  • The "wall" that prevented evidence collected in intelligence investigations from being used in criminal cases has been successfully eliminated.

Prior to the Patriot Act, information gathered using a warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- which governs the monitoring of suspected foreign agents, spies and terrorists -- could not be shared with ordinary criminal investigators pursuing the same or related suspects.

Source: David Freddoso, "Patriot Act Aided in 179 Terror Convictions," Human Events, July 19, 2004; and "Report from the Field: USA Patriot Act at Work," U.S. Department of Justice, July 2004.

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