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Through experience, the FBI has acquired insights into the fact that there are no dividing lines distinguishing foreign intelligence, terrorist and criminal activities. Foreign intelligence, terrorism, and criminal organizations and activities are interdependent and interrelated (Abele, 2005). Files belonging to the FBI are full of investigation cases where the sharing of information between criminal intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism investigations is essential to the ability of the FBI. This is in regards to the protection of the nation from criminal activities, foreign intelligence activity, and terrorists. Some investigations beginning as counterintelligence investigations end up becoming criminal cases. In some cases, the FBI initiates the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, or parallel criminal cases in maximizing their ability to conduct effective investigations. This has helped in addressing and identifying various threats to the U.S. hence implementing protective measures to protect vulnerable methods and sources. The success in the provision of accurate assessments of intelligence threats and convicting suspects depends entirely on the inflow of information between analysts, respective investigators and investigations, as well (Hess & Orthmann, 2011).
The reform introduced by the Act has directed the president to support an environment of information sharing for respective departments to share terrorism information. This should be achieved consistently with the applicable legal standards and national security. It has also given the president a directive to include protection of people's civil and privacy liberties. Further, the president is allowed to incorporate strong mechanisms meant to facilitate and enhance oversight, including access controls, audit, and authentication. With the introduction of the new U.S. Patriot Act, it has provided guidelines for the DNI to implement the provisions of the Act. In addition, the DNI has gained civil liberties and privacy by ensuring the implementation of the provisions. The FBI has managed to execute various orders in their privacy as well as in the disseminating information from the intelligence databases of the FBI (Hess & Orthmann, 2010).
The FBI uses a process of privacy impact assessments in evaluating privacy across main systems before implementing the system. This requires that officers conduct a thorough analysis of the effects of privacy in creating the proposed system's implementation measures. This includes assessing both the cumulative impacts and the impacts based on the proposed and existing system. The assessment process is a source of systemic assessment for the FBI top officials of the major impacts of systems before making these systems operational. The U.S. intelligence service reviews major systems and FBI processes. This is done by a team comprising of a senior privacy official from the FBI, a representative from the privacy council of the FBI and various representatives from FBI divisions (Abele, 2005).
The provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act are crucial to the security of the United States. If these provisions were allowed to sunset, it would only be inconsistent with the enactment of the 2004 Prevention and reform Act. This Act encompasses various provisions designed to promote sharing of information across various sections of the federal government. The provisions of this Act are crucial to the implementation of the mandate of congress of creating an environment of information sharing. The Act authorizes the sharing of intelligence information obtained through electronic surveillance, intelligence officers, and officials of national security. If we allow the provisions of this Act to sunset, we would be damaging the coordination efforts and information haring efforts of intelligence investigations, intelligence agencies and the CIA (Smith & Hung, 2009).
How the U.S. Patriot Act protects the civil liberties of American citizens
Besides damaging the United States' image as steward for the fight of human rights, the signing of the Patriotic Act had significant effects on the civil liberties and freedoms of the citizens. An author who wrote nine books regarding the first amendment of the Act argued that provisions of the Act go beyond the people's civil liberties that live in the United States, with the fact that the amendments were from various laws that already existed (Abele, 2005). It mainly gave the chance for interference of those rights that were protected by first, fourth, fifth, and sixth amendment of the bill of rights. This bill directly threatened the freedom of speech, information, association and the right to liberty and the right to legal representation.
For example, if the fourth amendment is clearly violated, the library surveillance established by the Patriotic Act enabled the monitoring of the computer terminals of the library and search warrants to grasp anything tangible without any legal documents from the court. Another practical joke that the amendment arose from the fact that it prohibited librarians and booksellers to disclose the description of the surveillance. The extent of this surveillance issue in libraries is a factor that Americans should consider because it is a violation of their privacy in the name of the Patriotic Act.
An important issue of concern is that the surveillance is not limited to the township and district libraries. It has infringed the privacy our residential homes, yet we have not noticed it. In the current era of digital communication, technological dependence cannot be underestimated. Many of the newly enacted provisions in line with telecommunications provider and users are probably not constitutional. They violate the rights discussed in the Fourth Amendment. The Amendment was instituted to prevent further terrorist attacks but from the look of things, these provisions may affect surveillance powers over many innocent citizens. In an effective manner, the Act rebukes the judicial system over the executive power. This is true through passing the functions of the court in the provision of an adequate checks and balance system (Alexander & Kraft, 2008).
The Patriotic Act gave the federal agents the power to monitor electronic communications. They include internet, email, and wireless phones. The government was also given the power to get hold of records of businesses for telecom firms and records of customers from internet service providers. This information from television cable firms can be destroyed too. Significantly, surveillance is not to stop at state boarders and telecom companies. The amendment also authorized the FBI to gain a warrant that pursued an individual across the border and monitoring computer usage and telephone communication. Under the Act of foreign intelligence surveillance's authority, the government gained authority by setting up wiretaps at the residence of anyone and searching the premises without any notice. The FBI also had the authority of recording conversations between the attorney and the federal custody clients. Another key factor to influence people of this nation to advocate for reform of these amendments is the complete loss of privacy (Dempsey & Forst, 2012).
Immediately after enacting the Patriotic Act, various different pressure groups emerged against the law because of how the law would violate civil liberties with an excuse of homeland security against terrorism. Many advocated for the reform of this Act including the office of the Inspector General, local communities, press representatives, individuals, and legislators because of the potential that the Act had to diminish the civil liberties and the rights of Americans. Many of those organizations that are against this Act have gone to court to have the court review this act constitutionally. By the end of the year 2003, the American Civil Liberty Union utilized their mandate to educate the press about the dangers of civil liberties posed by the Patriotic Act. ACLU even went to the court to challenge some of the Act's provisions. This organization clearly showed their concern about the diminishing liberties and rights and factored on the unfair treatment to foreigners by the justice department (Abele, 2005).
Many countries facing various challenges like terrorism are forced to make significant decisions to respond to the challenges facing them from internal forces or external forces. In some cases, these challenges usually require an urgent response for survival. In fact, realities on the ground in the United States have undergone a change since the occurrence of the tragic events that took place in mid-2001. The Patriotic Act of the United States constitution was established with the motive of rallying all resources to avoid future attacks of the kind. Critics of this Act have displayed the weaknesses that accompany its implementation. They succumbed to its intention. However, they demanded and advocated for the amendment altering the freedom that citizens enjoy. Obama's government has declared through an executive order for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison (Matthew, 2008).
With the current bad state of the economy, it is still yet to be observed if the new government is set to strengthen the state of internal security and look into the issues raising eyebrows about the Patriotic Act by encouraging respect for the individual rights. The citizens of the United States have the obligation to be aware of their constitutional rights and inform the relevant authorities whenever they notice a violation of these rights (Paulson, 2008). Although the strides made through the Patriot Act are commendable, it is always important to respect the privacy of all citizens. Incidences of prejudice…[continue]
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