Defense & National Security

Facts About the Patriot Act

The Patriot Act, passed with overwhelming bi-partisan congressional support (98-1 by the Senate and 357-66 by the House of Representatives), brought down the artificial wall separating law enforcement and intelligence officers and now allows them to talk to each other as they work to prevent future attacks.

  • The Patriot Act facilitates information sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that these agencies can better “connect the dots.”
  • The Act allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists.
  • The Act codified the procedures for obtaining these warrants, which require court approval.
  • The Act uses proven law enforcement methods in new ways to reflect new technologies and new threats. It authorizes law enforcement agencies to use “roving wiretaps”–in which a wiretap authorization attaches to a particular suspect, rather than a particular communication device–in national-security investigations. This provision has enhanced the government’s authority to monitor sophisticated international terrorists and intelligence officers, who are trained to thwart surveillance, such as by rapidly changing cell phones, just before important meetings or communications.
  • The Act makes it easier for investigators to catch suspected terrorists by following their paper trail in financial transactions.
  • The Patriot Act gives investigators the tools, such as roving wiretaps and delayed-notification search warrants, which are needed to stop terrorists before they strike, fulfilling America’s duty to win the War on Terror.


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