Patriot Act

(2001)

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law An Act to Deter and Punish Terrorist Acts in the United States and around the World, to Enhance Law Enforcement Investigatory Tools, and for Other Purposes. The act's short title is the USA Patriot Act or simply the Patriot Act. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the bill briskly passed through the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the vote was 98 to 1, with one abstention; the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 357 to 66, with nine abstentions. The aim of the legislation was to provide the federal government with expanded authority to intercept communications, for purposes of both law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Many observers believed that the Patriot Act, which essentially consists of numerous revisions to the U.S. Code, was necessary in an era in which information was the nation's most valuable weapon in the fight...

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Graffiti on a sidewalk, in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (Library of Congress)

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