Bush administration violates fourth amendment

Jacob Dugar, Editor

   For my past few editorials, I have covered federal operations that directly violated civil rights or were just evil, but they all took place in the Cold War. Do operations like those still happen? Surely if they did, the media would be outraged by them, right?

   Well…not really, especially if they are passed at the right time.

   The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, or USA PATRIOT Act for short, essentially permitted the federal government to legally spy on Americans in the name of national security. It also led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

   Notice the name of the act: “USA PATRIOT Act.” A patriot is an American who loves his or her own country, so an act named after one will definitely be beneficial for its citizens if passed, right?

   The answer to that is subjective, as it depends on how much freedom you are willing to trade for security.

   This 300-page act is too large to cover in this editorial, but it allowed the government to use surveillance and wiretapping, request court permission for a mobile wiretap, delay notifying a suspect they have a warrant, and acquire access to bank and business records, to name a few.

   Some feel these abilities violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects, among other things, the citizens’ right against unreasonable searches and seizures. All of these powers were for the purpose of combatting domestic terrorism both from citizens and immigrants, but did they help? That depends on where you look, because of course it does.

   A 2015 Washington Post article said the Justice Department admitted it had not helped crack any major cases of terrorism, but a 2012 report from the Heritage Foundation said 50 attacks have been prevented, with 47 of them directly stopped by the PATRIOT Act.

   Now, why did the media not go crazy when this was trying to be passed? Well, it came 45 days after 9/11. Americans were angry that terrorists from another nation were able to attack us on our own soil.

   This 300-page bill was not seen as a violation of our constitutional rights, but rather as a means to prevent another 9/11 from happening.

   All of these provisions were set to expire in 2015, though, so do we still have anything to worry about?

   Well, some of these provisions did expire in 2015, but they were brought back with the USA Freedom Act. Both of these acts are still in effect, but I cannot find out any modern expiration dates.

   Before I end this editorial, I have some questions that I want you to think about. How did Congress both write and read the 300-page act in 45 days? Why do both acts have such patriotic-sounding names?

   Also, since the Justice Department said they are not helping stop terrorism, why do the acts keep getting extended?

   For my final words, just remember that the Constitution exists to protect us, but we need to protect it in turn; conspiracy theories, while some are extreme, are not always to be laughed at; do not trust everything the government says it is doing. This has been fun preaching to you guys, but I must now sign off for now.

   Peace out.