Informationsmarktverzerrung durch Fundamentalismus am Beispiel der USA

Kapitel 5: Information und Zensur

3. Patriotische Fundamentalisten:  "Patriot Act" — ein willkommener Anlass zur Abschaffung der Bürgerrechte

von Margarete Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Margarete <1942 - >: Informationsmarktverzerrung durch Fundamentalismus am Beispiel der USA. -- Kapitel 5: Information und Zensur. -- 3. Patriotische Fundamentalisten:  "Patriot Act" — ein willkommener Anlass zur Abschaffung der Bürgerrechte. -- Fassung vom 2005-04-19. -- URL:

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-03-23

Überarbeitungen: 2005-04-19 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-04-02 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung an der Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Sommersemester 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

Creative Commons-Lizenzvertrag
Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung  Länder und Kulturen von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

1. Statt eines Motto

Abb.: Satire: Approvement des unten genanten Buchs von Michael Moore durch das Department of Homeland Security


Moore, Michael <1954- >: Dude, where's my country?. -- New York : Warner Books, ©2003. -- xiv, 249 S. ; 24 cm.  -- ISBN 0446532231. -- vor dem Titelblatt. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}

2. Aus der jüngeren Geschichte: Unterdrückung der Bürgerrechte im Namen der Bürgerrechte: McCarthyism

Abb.: Joseph McCarthy

McCarthyism, named after Joseph McCarthy, was a period of intense anticommunism, also (popularly) known as the (second) Red Scare, which occurred in the United States from 1948 to about 1956 (or later), when the government of the United States was actively engaged in suppression of the Communist Party USA, its leadership, and others suspected of being communists. From the viewpoint of some conservatives and McCarthy-supporters at the time, the suppression of "radical organizations" was a struggle against a supposedly dangerous subversive element that posed a danger to the security of the country, thereby justifying extreme, possibly illegal measures. For others it was seen as class warfare and a massive violation of civil and Constitutional rights. History has vindicated the latter view, and McCarthyism is often seen as a blight on the nation's traditions of civil rights and liberties.

McCarthy's anticommunist crusade faltered in 1954 as his hearings were televised, for the first time on the new American Broadcasting Company. ABC needed to fill their afternoon slots, which allowed the public and press to view first-hand McCarthy's badgering of individuals and controversial tactics. The press also started to run stories about how McCarthy ruined many people's lives with accusations that were in some cases insufficiently backed up by evidence.

Since the time of the red scare led by Joseph McCarthy, the term McCarthyism has entered the American vernacular as a general term for the phenomenon of mass pressure, harassment, or blacklisting used to instill conformity with prevailing political beliefs. The act of making insufficiently supported accusations or engaging in unfair investigatory methods against a person as a purported attempt to unfairly silence or discredit them is often referred to as McCarthyism. The Arthur Miller play The Crucible, written during the McCarthy era, used the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for the McCarthyism of the 1950s, suggesting that the process of McCarthyism-style persecution can occur at any time and place. The term "McCarthyism" has since come to mean a government witch hunt seeking to punish unapproved thoughts or political stances.

The term originated in a March 29, 1950 political cartoon by Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block. The cartoon depicted four leading Republicans trying to push an elephant (the traditional symbol of the Republican party) to stand on a teetering stack of ten tar buckets, the topmost of which was labelled "McCarthyism". The reluctant elephant was quoted in the caption as saying "You mean I'm supposed to stand on that?"

[Quelle: --  Zugriff am 2005-03-10]

"In spring 1947, the Republicans seized control of Congress after sixteen years in the New Deal wilderness. he new speaker, Joseph Martin, promptly warned about "subversionists high up in the government." The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), organized in the 1930s to keep an eye on Nazis, now went after leftists. It began with an attack on Hollywood. Shooting at the stars guaranteed a boxoffice smash.

Why the movies? Ronald Reagan later explained. "We had a weekly audience of about 500,000 souls." Transforming this enormous plant "into a Communist grist mill. . . would have been a magnificent coup for our enemies." Hollywood had become highly political—Communists, leftists, and liberals had worked together since 1935, united by depression, idealism, and loyalty to FDR. But they never really influenced the product. The idea, comments Michael Rogin, was nothing short of delusional. What Hollywood really represented was the New Deal—left-leaning labor militants with loose morals. The committee members stood, in contrast, for old-fashioned, small-town, conservative American values. The Jeremiahs got right down to the familiar business of blasting the media for corrupting our principles.

Eric Johnson, the new president of the Motion Picture Producers Association, championed the committee's vision of the American Way: "We'll have no more Grapes of Wrath. We'll have no more films that show the seamy side of American life. We'll have no pictures that deal with labor strikes [or] . . . the banker as villain." Writer Ayn Rand pitched in with new cinema guidelines. Don't smear the free enterprise system, don't deify the common man. The cultural counterrevolutionaries saw pink everywhere. Take The Best Years of Our Lives (which won the Oscar for best film in 1946); the protagonist, played by Fredric March, attacks bankers for not lending money to servicemen—a nasty, Communistic attitude toward our free-enterprise banking system, charged the rising critics.

Abb.: Filmplakat

National anxiety gave the culture war its force. "The Communist menace in America is no myth," said HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas. "This [is a] Moscow directed fifth column. This [is a] foreign conspiracy." The committee tore into its witnesses. Were they Communists? Left-leaning fellow travelers? Had they ever been? As with the original Salem Village witch-hunt, you could help yourself by confessing and naming names. Hidden enemies always put a premium on baring all and betraying others.


Abb.: Werke von Denunzianten

Some stars—Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, Ayn Rand, Elia Kazan— came forward eagerly, pointing fingers. Kazan made the classic witch-hunt submission. He repudiated his leftist past, proclaimed his shame, and sold out his friends. Many others resisted. Arthur Miller confessed his own sins but stayed mum about others'. In 1953 he wrote The Crucible, a parable of the red scare set during the Salem witch trials. Under pressure from the relentless magistrate, Miller's agonized protagonist refuses to save his life by naming names:

"I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it. ... I have three children, how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?" Humphrey Bogart, sporting a dapper bow tie, led a delegation of dissenters, including Lauren Bacall, Danny Kaye, Jane Wyatt, and Ira Gershwin. The investigation, they argued, violated the First Amendment. The liberals stood up for the New Deal. More important, they made the case that lasted: HUAC's assault on dissenters seemed—seems—more un-American than anything their victims ever did.

Abb.: Widerstand der Hexenjagd: Humphrey Bogart

But the panic grew. Popular support for Bogart and free speech got shaken by hostile Hollywood witnesses who refused to answer questions. Some argued bitterly with committee members. Hollywood activists skulking behind the Fifth Amendment made headlines. The movie industry developed its notorious "blacklist"—repudiating a long roll of men and women who refused to testify or would not name names or got cited for contempt or ended up splattered with mud as the hearings went on. Frightened moviemakers drove some 500 colleagues out of the business. Many never got back in.

On one level, HUAC's cultural assault succeeded. The red scare chilled leftist thinking and writing for a decade. Many celebrated writers and artists ran into trouble: Charlie Chaplin, Zero Mostel, Ring Lardner, Jr., Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Orson Welles, Frank Capra, Paul Robeson. I watched, writes publisher Andre Schiffrin, the "near disappearance from American life of dissident and progressive points of view." In 1962, eight years after the purge had ended, Schiffrin proposed publishing a book by liberal journalist I. F. Stone. As Schiffrin tells the story, his colleagues nervously squirmed before bleating, "We could never take on anything so controversial."

Abb.: Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967), ein katholischer Fundi und strammer kalter Krieger

Hollywood was just the start of the search for Communists. The Chamber of Commerce pitched in with its "campaign to oust reds in U.S. Posts." Francis Cardinal Spellman, archbishop of New York, warned his flock of "Communist conquest and annihilation" by "sinister, scheming . . . pseudo Americans." The Catholic church had truly broken through the old nativism, comments David Bennett, when it could so comfortably glide to the right side of the us-them barrier.

The Truman administration jumped into the action, queasy about getting branded soft on Communists. The administration organized a Loyalty Review Board (in 1946), which investigated 4 million government employees in the next five years. Hundreds got dismissed, thousands resigned. The agents uncovered plenty of "unsuitables"—alcoholics, adulterers, and homosexuals— but scarcely a Communist in the bunch. A shoeblack working in the State Department basement faced repeated interviews because he had sent $10 to a defense fund for the "Scottsboro boys," a celebrated cause featuring young black men dubiously accused of the usual southern atrocity. Undeterred, Democratic Attorney General J. Howard McGrath tossed fuel onto the fire: "Today there are many Communists in America . . . they are everywhere ... in factories, offices, butcher shops, street corners, in private businesses." He sounded like Cotton Mather describing the devils in Salem Village: "they swarm about us like the frogs of Egypt."

Investigations, loyalty oaths, and blacklists spread. Administrators trained the spotlight on the classroom. The State Regents gave University of California faculty two months to sign a loyalty oath or quit. Intellectuals like Albert Einstein urged the teachers to stand up for free speech. About a fifth of the faculty anguished between their jobs and their convictions, but most submitted. In New York, school administrators fired more than three hundred teachers and fifty-eight college professors. The trauma of the assault on free speech and free thinking—especially in institutions dedicated to speech and thought—eventually yielded an ironic consequence: fervent, even moralistic, support for the tenure system.

States put anti-red laws on the books. Thirty-nine states prohibited residents from advocating the violent overthrow of the government. Texas made membership in the Communist party a felony punishable by up to twenty years in jail. One town required a loyalty oath for a fishing license. Indiana required oaths of allegiance from professional wrestlers. Professional associations—for lawyers, physicians, teachers—proposed political tests for members.

The red scare compounded anxiety about America's moral strength. When investigations turned up "unsuitable" gays, the inquisitors expanded the scope of their outrage. "Sexual perverts . . . have infiltrated our government," wrote the Republican national chairman to his workers, and they are "perhaps as dangerous as the actual communists." Senator Kenneth Wherry called for a full investigation. "You can't hardly separate homosexuals from subversives. ... A man of low morality is a menace in the government." Wherry called for strong action to secure "seaports and major cities" against the "conspiracy of subversives and moral perverts." The New York Daily News warned about the "all-powerful, super-secret, inner circle of highly educated . . . sexual misfits in the State Department... all highly susceptible to blandishments by homosexuals in foreign nations." Billy Graham praised the vigilant Americans who were busy "exposing the pinks, the lavenders, and the reds who have sought refuge beneath the wings of the American Eagle."

In April 1953, an executive order barred gay men and lesbians from federal jobs. Many towns and cities also cracked down, flourishing variations of the "perverts subvert our character" motif. The sexual subversives menaced family and country by neutering American males. The skulking Communist and the stealthy pervert ran together—both spread their contagions. One "prancing minion of the Moscow party line"—like a single rotten apple—could spoil a whole office. The image of the gay man stood as the antipode of the strong American male holding the line against foreign danger.

The Red Scare got really hot in early 1950. Bad news buffeted the United States. China had fallen to Communists in August 1949. The Soviets had tested the atomic bomb in September. In February 1950, a scientist who had worked on the Manhattan Project confessed to passing secrets. He named names. Only days later, North Korea attacked the south. The nation had already felt besieged, and now this extraordinary collection of troubles came crashing in.

Right on cue, Senator Joe McCarthy barged onto the jittery national scene. On February 9,1950, the disheveled, disorganized, canny, crude, tough, boozy Wisconsin senator addressed the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. Talking out there in the political wilderness, McCarthy began with the obvious. Things looked bad. Six years ago the Soviet orbit had 180 million people; our side counted 1.6 billion. "Today, only six years later, there are 800 million under the absolute domination of Soviet Russia. ... In less than six years the odds have changed from nine to one in our favor to eight to five against us." Why had we fallen to such "impotency"? Simple. Rich boys, "with silver spoons in their mouths," had sold us out. And then McCarthy dropped his bomb: "I have in my hand 205 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the communist party who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy."

McCarthy never got the number straight. The next day, 205 turned to 57. Later to 81. Or was it just 4? Reporters clamored for a single number or a name. He never actually showed anyone any lists, but he roiled the political scene with charges. McCarthy ripped through "Truman's iron curtain of secrecy." He shook up the "privileged, sissified, State Department," full of "egg-sucking phony liberals" who "hold sacrosanct those Communists and queers." And that went double for the guys at the top, like Secretary Dean Acheson, the "Red Dean of Fashion," with his "lace handkerchief, silk glove, and . . . Harvard accent." Anti-Communists flocked to McCarthy's side, sharing information, dossiers, files, and rumors. When critics pressed him for details, he plucked names out of the files and revealed the "spies," "stooges," or "masterminds." McCarthy slid from charge to charge, airily referring to "classified" secrets. He got into a fistfight with columnist Drew Person (broken up by that righteous Quaker Richard Nixon). He outraged liberals. "The sewers of our public life burst," railed columnist Joseph Alsop, "and the accumulated filth was flowing in the streets." McCarthy did not mind rough handling. He gave as good as he got, amplifying the fervent American cry against Communist corruption. "If you want to be against McCarthy, boys," he told the news hounds, "you've got to be either a Communist or a cocksucker [Schwanzlecker, d.h. schwul]."

The Democrats had won back control of Congress in the 1948 election. They quickly tried to pin McCarthy. Senator Millard Tydings (D-Maryland) used his subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate McCarthy's allegations. Acid proceedings yielded a blistering report: "We have seen the character of private citizens and government employees virtually destroyed by public condemnation on the basis of gossip, hearsay and deliberate untruths." They called McCarthy a "fraud" and a "hoax." Seven Republicans signed a declaration repudiating his "political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance." which posed the true threat to the "American way of life." But McCarthy rolled over the critics, sowing accusations and reaping headlines. Sympathetic newspapers scorned the "Tydings Report Whitewash." Another "green light to the Red Fifth Column in the United States," crowed the senator. McCarthy got the last word on this tormenter. He raised money and went to Maryland to campaign against Tydings. McCarthy circulated a faked photograph that made Tydings look like pals with former Communist Party leader Earl Browder. When Tydings lost his seat, McCarthy claimed the credit. Did he really make the difference? No matter. His colleagues became more chary about taking him on.

Raw partisan interest ran through the attacks. Robert Taft, the conservative Republican leader, advised McCarthy to keep talking. "If one case doesn't work out, proceed with another." Senator John Bricker urged on McCarthy with flattering guy talk: "You're a dirty son of a bitch, but there are times when you need a son of a bitch around and this is one of them." When the Republicans won back both Congress and the White House, in 1952, they no longer needed dirt on government officials—they now controlled the political establishment. The new majority shunted their son of a bitch to a nice boring committee. McCarthy rebelled: "We've only scratched the surface of Communism." He wrangled himself a permanent subcommittee from which to hunt for reds and then went too far. McCarthy hired a committee staff member who had unearthed the "largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States"—the Protestant clergy. The charge is often described as half mad; however, it actually reflected a hard-right critique of the Social Gospel preachers and the leftist implications of their creed. Still, no one heard the justifications. Public outrage buried his staff member, and Joe McCarthy moved on to even bigger game.

McCarthy's subcommittee launched into its probe of the U.S. Army. "You're shielding communist conspirators," he told one brigadier general. "You are not fit to wear that uniform." The Army eventually shot back. It accused McCarthy of trying to win special treatment for David Schine, a young hotel heir who served as an unpaid consultant to McCarthy's committee. His own subcommittee now investigated its erstwhile chairman. A national television audience watched 188 hours of McCarthy's nasal, "points of order" and bare-knuckled attacks. "I'm glad we're on television," he sneered at Democrat Stuart Symington, so "millions of people . .. can see how low an alleged man can sink." Under stress, unshaven, drinking heavily, and perhaps not savvy about this new mass medium, McCarthy looked a mess and played a bully. Time magazine immediately picked out the decisive moment and correctly predicted that it would long be "remembered as the most memorable scene." As army counsel Joseph Welch doggedly pursued his case, McCarthy played his usual ace. Interrupting with a point of order, he suddenly went after a young colleague back at Welch's Boston law firm, Hale and Dorr; Fred Fisher had been a member of the National Lawyers' Guild, the "legal bulwark of the Communist Party." Welch had his famous answer prepared and smoothly drove it home. Time recounted the scene with all the flourishes of a mythic moment.

Welsh slowly and with great sadness spoke up: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty and your recklessness. . . .Let us assassinate this lad no further. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last have you no sense of decency? If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. . . ."

There was a moment of profound silence, then a roll of thunderous applause. . . . When the uproar had subsided, Joe Welsh, face drained white, rose from the committee table, silently walked past McCarthy and out into a corridor where he stood alone, dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief.

Joe McCarthy was through, the red scare over. Congress served up McCarthy—voting to censure—as the anticommunist demagogue who had gone too far. But the scare had been going strong before he had bolted onto the scene. It stretched far beyond McCarthy or his party or Congress or Washington, D.C. What, in the end, had this national trauma been about?

Early analysts saw an irrational American lynch mob. McCarthy had taken legitimate security concerns and blown them into a full-fledged witch-hunt. And the American public had fallen for it. Later, political scientists pointed at the political winners. Republicans had played astutely on the nation's fears, they said. McCarthy had effectively done their dirty work. Democrats would face taunts of being soft on communism for the next forty years."

[Quelle: Morone, James A. <1951 - >: Hellfire nation : the politics of sin in American history. -- New Haven : Yale University Press, ©2003.  -- xii, 575 S. : Ill., maps ; 25 cm.  -- ISBN: 0300094841. -- S. 388 - 394. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}]]

3. USA Patriot Act

Abb.: Plakat gegem den Patriot Act [Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-14]

Text des Patriot Act: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-21

Der Patriot Act ist kein Produkt der Fundamentalisten; da Fundamentalisten sich aber bestens ängstigen und aufhetzen lassen, sind sie willkommene Unterstützer - um nicht zu sagen  nützliche Idioten - für dieses Gesetz.

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The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act, H.R. 3162, S. 1510, Public Law 107-56) is a United States legislative law, enacted in response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.

The bill passed 98-1 in the United States Senate, and 356-66 in the United States House of Representatives; Senator Russ Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin) cast the Senate's lone dissenting vote.

Abb.: Viet D. Dinh (geb. 1968), Vater des Patriot Act

President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 26, 2001. Assistant attorney general Viet D. Dinh was the chief architect of the act. As of November 16, 2004, the PATRIOT Act has been used to charge 372 suspected terrorists and convict 194 of them.


The USA PATRIOT Act is an extremely complex and lengthy piece of legislation containing 158 sections and amending over 15 federal statutes. Much of it incorporates previous foreign intelligence acts particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Amended statutes include laws governing criminal procedure, computer fraud, foreign intelligence, wiretapping, and immigration. Also contained are provisions dealing with financial assistance to victims of terrorism, increased benefits for public-safety workers and consumer protection from fraudulent charitable solicitations after an attack.

Challenges to limit the USA PATRIOT Act

United States Senate

On July 31, 2003, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), introduced the "Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act" (S. 1552) [1] ( This bill would revise several provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act to increase judicial review. For example, instead of PEN/Trap warrants to track Internet usage being based on the claims of law-enforcement, they would be based on "specific and articulable facts that reasonably indicate that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed, and that information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to the investigation of that crime." However, the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act doesn't address the portion of Sec. 216 of the USA PATRIOT Act which allows unnamed-persons to be subject to a PEN/Trap warrant based on law-enforcement certifying that those individuals should have been named.

United States House of Representatives

On September 24, 2003, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, introduced legislation into the US House of Representatives to repeal more than ten sections of the Act. The bill, titled the "Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act", looks to review certain sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, including those that authorize sneak and peek searches, warrantless library, medical, and financial record searches, and the detention and deportation of non-citizens without meaningful judicial review. Beyond the USA PATRIOT Act, the bill cements the fundamental right of Attorney/Client Privilege and restores transparency in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security by revoking FOIA secrecy orders, along with other important provisions.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), C. L. Otter (R-Idaho), and Ron Paul (R-Texas) proposed an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Bill of 2005 which would cut off funding to the Department of Justice for searches conducted under Section 215. The amendment failed to pass the House with a tie vote, 210–210. Although the original vote came down in favor of the amendment, the vote was held open and several House members were persuaded to change their votes. [2] (

American Civil Liberties Union

On April 9, 2004 the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the national security letter (NSL)[3] ( provisions of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act which allows the FBI to obtain customer records from phone and Internet companies in terrorism investigations. The ACLU successfully argued that phone companies and ISPs should be able to disclose receiving a subpoena from the FBI and it outweighs the FBI's need for secrecy in counter-terrorism investigations. No part of the Patriot Act was impacted.

Federal Judge rules Section 805 unconstitutional

On January 23, 2004, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins ruled that Section 805 - which classifies "expert advice or assistance" as material support to terrorism - was unconstitutional and in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments - marking the first legal decision to set a part of the act aside. The lawsuit against the act was brought by the Humanitarian Law Project, representing five organizations and two U.S. citizens who wanted to provide expert advice to Kurdish refugees in Turkey. Groups providing aid to these organizations had suspended their activities for fear of violating the Patriot Act, and they filed a lawsuit against the Departments of Justice and State to challenge the law, claiming the phrase "expert advice or assistance" was too vague. [4] (

Federal Judge rules Section 505 unconstitutional

On September 29, 2004, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero struck down Section 505 - which allowed the government to issue "National Security Letters" to obtain sensitive customer records from Internet Service Providers and other businesses without judicial oversight - was in violation of the First and Fourth Amendment. The court also found the broad gag provision in the law to be an "unconstitutional prior restraint" on free speech. [5] (

Public opinion

According to The Gallup Organization, public opinion of the PATRIOT Act has waned since its inception. In January 2002, 47% Americans wanted their government to stop terrorism even if it required civil liberties violations. By November 2003 this number had dropped to 31%, indicating that a growing number of Americans were concerned about expanding government powers.

Nevertheless, as recently as February 2004:

  • 43% of Americans thought that the PATRIOT Act is "about right"
  • 25% say it goes "too far"
  • 21% say "not far enough" [[6] (]

According to other polls, 52% of Americans report being concerned that their civil liberties are being infringed by the administration's war on terrorism. [7] (

Many people in the U.S. refer to the USA PATRIOT Act as the "Anti-Patriot Act", because it seems to go against what their idea of American patriotism means, and seems to undercut many of the provisions of the Bill of Rights

Alleged abuses under the PATRIOT Act
  • In Las Vegas, police used the PATRIOT Act to subpoena two stockbrokers for evidence in a public official corruption case against a strip club owner (who ultimately pled guilty). Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that Section 314 of the act states it can be applied to activities "that may involve terrorist acts OR money-laundering activities". Accordingly, the federal investigators' actions did not exceed the authority of the PATRIOT Act. [8] (
  • The FBI ordered a handful of journalists that had written about computer hacker Adrian Lamo to turn over their notes and other information under the auspices of the PATRIOT Act. Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that journalists -- like all other citizens -- are not privileged from being subjected to subpoenas when they possess information relevant to a criminal investigation.[9] (
  • Beyond the above examples, in September 2003, the New York Times reported that a study by Congress showed hundreds of cases where the PATRIOT Act was used to investigate non-terrorist crimes. [10] (,1854,567051,00.html). Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that the Act is not limited to "terrorist crimes," and further that the New York Times report referred to above misconstrued the nature of many of the investigations conducted under the PATRIOT Act.
  • In April 2004, a Muslim Idaho man went on trial on charges of supporting terrorism by maintaining some web sites (among many he assisted) that supported violent activities. [11] ( This type of "guilt by association" was resurrected by the 1996 "anti-terrorism" act signed by President Clinton, but was further expanded under the PATRIOT Act. Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that prosecutors did not try Mr. Al-Hussayen because of his association with the website, but because he actively participated in raising money for terrorist organizations, recruiting terrorists, and disseminating inflammatory rhetoric via his website. Prosecutors said the sites included religious edicts justifying suicide bombings and an invitation to contribute financially to the militant Palestinian organization Hamas.
  • In May 2004, the FBI cordoned off the entire block of a University of Buffalo associate art professor's house, impounding his computers, manuscripts, books, equipment for further analysis and The Buffalo Health Department temporarily condemned the house as a health risk after suspicious vials and bacterial cultures were discovered at his home. The professor, whose art involves the use of biology equipment as part of a project educating the public about the politics of biotechnology was charged with violations under the Section 175 of the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act which was expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act. [12] ( [13] ( Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that the investigation of Mr. Kurtz began after he called 911 to report that his 45-year-old wife had died overnight. At that point, police noticed a mobile DNA extraction laboratory and petri dishes containing E. coli bacteria in his home. Mr. Kurtz contended that the biological agents were being used in his latest art project, but police felt compelled to investigate further. Moreover, Mr. Kurtz was not charged with a violation of the PATRIOT Act or the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act.
  • The ACLU was prevented from releasing the text of its countersuit challenging aspects of the PATRIOT Act because the government claimed it would violate secrecy provisions of the act. [14] ( Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that the ACLU's constitutional challenge was disclosed, and only the details of an ongoing federal investigation were redacted. Moreover, the secrecy provisions of the PATRIOT Act are subject to both judicial and congressional oversight.
  • The maintainer of a TV-show fan website was charged with copyright infringement after the MPAA directed the FBI to obtain records from the site's Internet service provider about the site under the USA PATRIOT Act [15] ( [16] ( Supporters of the PATRIOT Act point out that McGaughey was charged with copyright violations and computer fraud, and that the PATRIOT Act amended the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Accordingly, the use of the PATRIOT Act was entirely appropriate.
  • Sherman Austin, anarchist and webmaster of Raise the Fist, plead guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. 842(p)[17] (, a 1997 "anti-terrorism" statute authored by California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein[18] ( that prohibits the distribution of bombmaking information knowing or intending that the information will be used in a violent federal crime. Many wrongly assume this case was investigated or prosecuted using the PATRIOT Act.
Expiration and possible renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act

Sunset provisions

Under PAT §224, several of the surveillance portions of PATRIOT will expire on December 31, 2005.

Provisions that will expire
  • §201. Authority To Intercept Wire, Oral, And Electronic Communications Relating To Terrorism.
  • §202. Authority To Intercept Wire, Oral, And Electronic Communications Relating To Computer Fraud And Abuse Offenses.
  • §203(b), (d). Authority To Share Criminal Investigative Information.
  • §206. Roving Surveillance Authority Under The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Of 1978.
  • §207. Duration Of FISA Surveillance Of Non-United States Persons Who Are Agents Of A Foreign Power.
  • §209. Seizure Of Voice-Mail Messages Pursuant To Warrants.
  • §212. Emergency Disclosure Of Electronic Communications To Protect Life And Limb.
  • §214. Pen Register And Trap And Trace Authority Under FISA.
  • §215. Access To Records And Other Items Under FISA.
  • §217. Interception Of Computer Trespasser Communications.
  • §218. Foreign Intelligence Information.
  • §220. Nationwide Service Of Search Warrants For Electronic Evidence.
  • §223. Civil Liability For Certain Unauthorized Disclosures.

Permanent/non-expiring provisions

  • §203(a),(c). Authority To Share Criminal Investigative Information.
  • §208. Designation Of Judges.
  • §210. Scope Of Subpoenas For Records Of Electronic Communications.
  • §211. Clarification Of Scope [privacy provisions of Cable Act overridden for communication services offered by cable providers (but not for records relating to cable viewing.)]
  • §213. Authority For Delaying Notice Of The Execution Of A Warrant--"Sneak and Peek"
  • §216. Modification Of Authorities Relating To Use Of Pen Registers And Trap And Trace Devices.
  • §219. Single-Jurisdiction Search Warrants For Terrorism.
  • §222. Assistance To Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • §225. Immunity For Compliance With Fisa Wiretap. Can continue all investigations active at the time of expiration.

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-10]

Abb.: Axes of evil. -- Cartoon von Russmo. -- 2003-04-01
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-02]

Zu Kapitel 5.4.: Kämpfer für die Freiheit der Information