November 22, 2004
By The Heritage Foundation
Ashcroft Legacy: Liberty and Security
Critics will say that John Ashcroft's
successes pale beside his failures, but they are wrong. Consider
one example, the Patriot Act. Most of the tales of abuse and misuse
are based on mistaken information. Even Russ Feingold, the only
Senator to vote against the Patriot Act, says that he is in favor
of 90 percent of it. In fact, with respect to the so-called "Sneak
and Peek" provision, Senator Feinstein has said that the law is
actually an improvement for civil liberties and that it offers more
protection against unlawful intrusions by law enforcement than did
the pre-Patriot Act law.
Information-Sharing Authority Permanent
by Paul Rosenzweig
Prior to September
11, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies were limited by
law in what information they could share with each other. The
Patriot Act that tore down that wall, and information-sharing
authorities have been put to good use since September 11. Yet,
remarkably, some of these vital provisions allowing the exchange of
information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies are
set to expire at the end of next year. If Congress does nothing,
then portions of the Patriot Act will lapse and the laws will
return to where they were on the day before September 11.
The Patriot Act Reader
by Paul Rosenzweig, Alane Kochems, and
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
The Patriot Act is a controversial law, some
provisions of which will soon require reauthorization. In the
post-9/11 world, it is important to understand just what the
legislation permits and what it does not… The Patriot Act
has come to symbolize an overstepping of the executive branch's
power. Unfortunately, that image is based largely on
misinformation. This report describes specifically what powers the
Patriot Act grants, the need for these powers, the safeguards built
into the Patriot Act, and how it has been used so far.
the 9/11 Commission's Report Should Contain: Four Recommendations
for Making America Safer
by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Paul
Based on its own research and expert
testimony provided in public hearings, the 9/11 Commission should
offer a strong endorsement of the PATRIOT Act and encourage
Congress to reauthorize the powers that are due to sunset in 2005.
Both the commission's staff and witnesses testifying during public
hearings have reaffirmed the importance of the law in improving
national counterterrorism operations while also finding no specific
faults with checks and balances provided in the law to ensure that
law enforcement authorities are properly employed.
testifies to Congress on the challenge of maintaining the balance
between security and constitutionally protected freedoms inherent
in responding to the threat of terror, especially in the context of
government investigations of terrorist organizations. Critics of
the 'material support' provisions of the Patriot Act overlook that
Congress attempted to carefully construct a balanced and nuanced
approach that both recognized the liberty interests at stake and
understood the necessity of enhanced investigative authority. Put
simply, these provisions to not impinge upon Americans' First
SAFE Act Will Not Make Us Safer
by Edwin Meese, III, and Paul
Opponents argue that various provisions of
the Patriot Act, and related laws and practices, have greatly
infringed upon American liberties while failing to deal effectively
with the threat of terrorism, but the case for change has not been
made. This paper considers the provisions of a proposed
Patriot Act replacement and finds them lacking in comparison.
Patriotic Day: 9/11 Commission Recognizes Importance of the Patriot
During a recent public hearing of the 9/11
Commission, present and former government officials and even the
Commissioners themselves emphasized the importance of one new tool
adopted after September 11: the Patriot Act. They all agreed that
the Patriot Act is an essential weapon in the nation's global war
on terrorism. Congress should take note and, as President Bush
called for in the State of the Union Address, act now to
reauthorize provisions in the law due to expire next
Intelligence Sharing for Visa Issuance and Monitoring: An
Imperative for Homeland Security
by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Ha
intelligence sharing for the visa issuance process is a crucial
aspect of the war on terrorism. Through legislation like the
Patriot Act which requires the Federal
Bureau of Investigation to share information in its National Crime
Information Center with immigration services and the U.S.
Department of State the Administration and Congress have
laid out a road map for achieving better intelligence sharing.
We Safer Today Than Before 9/11?
by Jack Spencer and Ha Nguyen
The United States
has taken concrete steps that will make the nation safer in the
long run if the American government and public remain committed to
the monumental task at hand. Of these steps, the Patriot Act is one
of the most important and substantial.
the Joint Inquiry into 9/11's Report Says About Today's
The report of the
Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and
After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, describes a
systematic failure of the United States intelligence community to
respond to the then emerging terrorist threat. The Patriot Act
relieves many of the obstacles in the domestic intelligence process
and in integrating foreign and domestic intelligence.
Anti-Terrorism Investigations and the Fourth Amendment After
September 11: Where and When can the Government go to Prevent
In this testimony
to the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Rosenzweig discusses the challenge of maintaining the
balance between security and constitutionally protected freedoms
inherent in responding to the threat of terror, especially in the
government investigations and data mining. Rosenzweig sets out the
principles of law enforcement under the Fourth Amendment and
applies them to data mining and FBI investigative
Securing Freedom And The Nation: Collecting Intelligence Under The
case against Sami Al-Arian is apparently based upon foreign
counter-intelligence wiretap intercepts that date back as far as
1993. According to the Department of Justice, however, it was not
until the passage of the USA Patriot Act that the intelligence
community felt it was lawfully in a position to provide that
information to law enforcement officials at DOJ and the FBI.
Most take it for
granted that the events of September 11 require that the government
institute new homeland protection measures, yet also believe that
some proposals are clearly excessive. As this paper describes,
there are effective ways to limit the ability of the government to
intrude into Americans' lives while increasing security. America
can and must adhere to fundamental and firm principles of limited
government, and it can do so while also answering the terrorist
One Year Later: Progress and Promise
by Michael Scardaville and Jack
The Patriot Act
gives law enforcement the ability to combat terrorists with 21st
century technology, provides additional personnel for securing the
northern border, expresses the sense of Congress that a mechanism
is needed to monitor entry and exit of visa holders, requires the
FBI to share more information with the Department of State, and
makes it more difficult for terrorists to enter the country and
easier to deport them by redefining "terrorist activity" for
by Larry M. Wortzel, Ph.D. and Michael
The President should begin immediately to
review regulations that limit the ability of the Department of
Defense to cooperate with other federal, state, and local law
enforcement or intelligence organizations. Congress is drafting
legislation to remove obstacles to greater information sharing
between the intelligence community and civil law enforcement
entities. It is necessary to foster greater exchange of information
Terrorist Threats and How to Counter Them
by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer
In this 2000
lecture, Paul Bremer looks at the international terrorist threat
and the tools that the United States needs to combat it.
by James A. Phillips
U.S. needs a systematic and comprehensive counterterrorism policy
to defend against, deter, prevent, and punish terrorism. The FBI's
ability to monitor domestic terrorist groups has been undermined by
restrictive guidelines that prevent it from gathering information
on possible terrorist activity unless the group in question has
committed, or is known to be plotting, a terrorist attack. The
guidelines on domestic intelligence gathering need to be revised to
permit federal law enforcement agencies to monitor the activities
of organizations that clearly indicate their support of
A compilation of Heritage's research on the Patriot Act.
The Heritage Foundation
Read More >>
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute,
with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in
February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free
enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national
defense. Read More
© 2014, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973