Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Stacy K. McGoldrick
The USA PATRIOT Act or “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” was signed into law without legislative committee debate on October 26, 2001. Despite the fact that Senator Russ Feingold was the only senator to vote against the bill, it was the subject of much public debate from the outset, and there continues to be little agreement about its implications for law enforcement and civil liberties in the United States. The voluminous bill is little understood, and some of its most radical aspects were ruled unconstitutional by the courts. However, the bill expands the powers of investigation first brought about through the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO), along with providing significant financial and institutional support to law enforcement for intelligence-gathering efforts. The better-known aspects of the bill ...