Patriot Act

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The Patriot Act is a shorthand name for The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. The Act was passed shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It was signed into law on October 26, 2001 by President George W. Bush. The legislation was aimed at bolstering national security, with a special focus on foreign terrorism. Among other things, the Act:

  • Enhances domestic security procedures, including increasing funding for law enforcement agencies and the military
  • Enhances law enforcement’s surveillance capabilities, including foreign and domestic phone, wire, and computer tapping
  • Removes obstacles to investigating terrorism, including easing interagency communication and encouraging information sharing
  • Increases the penalties for acts of terrorism and expands the list of activities considered to be acts of terrorism

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]