The USA PATRIOT Act (full name: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) was a law passed overwhelmingly by Congress on October 24, 2001. Two days later, President George W. Bush signed the act into law creating legislation that gave sweeping new powers to government to collect information that could thwart potential terrorist attacks against the United States.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton asked Congress to give law enforcement expanded wiretap authority and increased access to personal records in terrorism cases. This request occurred shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. Congress refused, citing concerns that loosening surveillance rules would be unconstitutional. However, in the wake of the horrific attacks on the World Trade ...

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