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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