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USA PATRIOT Act

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ALSO CALLED: Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, USA-PATRIOT, Terrorism Act of 2001, USAPA, Patriot Act
DEFINITION: The Patriot Act (the full name is the USA Patriot Act, or "Uniting and Strengthening America Actby Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001") wasenacted by the U.S. Congress on October 26, 2001, at the request of President George Bush inresponse to the terrorist acts of September 11. It gives controversial new powers to the JusticeDepartment in terms of domestic  … 
Definition continues below.
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USA PATRIOT ACT DEFINITION (continued): …  and international surveillance of American citizens and otherswithin its jurisdiction. According to its sponsors, the Act was needed to address a situation thathad not existed before - the presence of terrorists within national borders - and the need toapprehend and prosecute them, hopefully before rather than after they acted. Opponents of the Act,including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, say that theAct has undone previous checks on civil liberty abuses of the past and unnecessarily endangersprivacy and discourages free speech.Among the Act's provisions, … 
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