USA Patriot Act
Antiterrorism Bill, USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Signed into Law
On Oct. 26, the president signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, H.R. 3162 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.3162:), expanding law enforcement's authority to investigate terrorism. The new law is a compromise between the legislation requested by the administration on Sept. 19, S. 1510 (Uniting and Strengthening America Act or the USA Act of 2001), and H.R. 2975 (Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act of 2001). The new law includes a four-year expiration or sunset clause for some of the electronic surveillance and information sharing provisions, but the sunset provision will not apply to ongoing investigations when it expires in 2005. It also includes a money laundering title, like the one in S. 1510 and passed separately by the House as H.R. 3004 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.3004:), to strengthen the nation's money laundering laws.
The new act also authorizes some new grant programs. It creates first responders assistance grants that would go to states and units of local government to improve the ability of state and local law enforcement, fire departments, and first responders to respond to and prevent acts of terrorism. There are two types of grants terrorism prevention and antiterrorism training. Qualifying states are to receive not less than 0.5% of the total amount appropriated in any year. The first responder assistance grants are authorized at $25 million per year for fiscal years (FYs) 2003 to 2007. In addition, the act creates a grant program for state and local domestic preparedness support. The grants are to be used by states, in conjunction with units of local government, to purchase needed equipment and to provide training and technical assistance to state and local first responders. It authorizes such sums as necessary for FYs 2002 through 2007. Each State is to be allocated not less than 0.75% of the total amount appropriated every year, except that the United States Virgin Islands, America Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands are to be allocated 0.25% each.
The following is an overview of the provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act:
Title I. Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism
- Establishes a counterterrorism fund to reimburse the Department of Justice (DOJ) for costs incurred in connection with terrorism and terrorism prevention.
- A sense of Congress condemning discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans.
- Increased funding for the Technical Support Center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Authorizes requests by the attorney general for military assistance in certain emergencies involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
- Allows the U.S. Secret Service to develop a national network of electronic crime task forces.
- Provides presidential authority, when the United States is engaged in military hostilities or has been subject to an attack, to confiscate property of foreign countries, persons, or organizations involved in the hostilities or attacks.
Title II. Enhanced Surveillance Procedures
- Expanded authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism and to computer fraud and abuse offenses.
- Broader authority to share criminal investigative information.
- Expedited hiring of translators by the FBI
- Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to track individuals.
- Expanded duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power.
- Nationwide seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants.
- Broadens the types of records that law enforcement may obtain, pursuant to a subpoena, from electronic communications service providers.
- Permits emergency disclosure of customer electronic communications by providers to protect life and limb.
- Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant.
- Pen register and trap and trace authority and access to records under FISA modified to remove the "agent of a foreign power" standard.
- Authorizes courts to grant pen register and trap and trace orders nationwide, and pen register and trap and trace orders apply to facilities other than telephone lines (e.g., the Internet).
- Allows computer service providers who are victims of attacks by computer trespassers to authorize persons acting under color of law to monitor trespassers on their computer systems in a narrow class of cases.
- Amends FISA to require a certification that "a significant purpose " rather than "the purpose" of a surveillance or search under FISA is to obtain foreign intelligence information.
- Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism may be obtained in any district in which the activities related to the terrorism may have occurred, regardless of where the warrants will be executed.
- Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence.
- Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures by federal personnel.
- Many of these provisions are subject to the four-year sunset provision.
Title III. International Money Laundry Abatement and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act of 2001
- Expands Treasury Department's authority to deal with foreign banks that pose money laundering concerns.
- Requires financial institutions to establish money laundering security programs and broker-dealers to formally file Suspicious Activity Reports like banks.
- Bans the undeclared movement of more than $10,000 across U.S. borders.
- Adds certain offenses involving terrorism to the list of offenses eligible for prosecution for money laundering.
Title IV. Protecting the Border
- Adds border personnel for the northern border.
- Provides access by the Department of State and DOJ's Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to identifying information in the criminal history records of visa applicants and applicants for admission to the United States.
- Requires the attorney general to report on feasibility of enhancing the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System or other identification systems to identify foreign passport and visa holders who may be wanted in connection with a criminal investigation in the United States or abroad before issuing a visa to that person or their entry or exit from the United States.
- Mandatory detention of suspected terrorists/habeas corpus/judicial review; the attorney general must either begin removal proceedings against such aliens or bring criminal charges within seven days, or release them from custody.
- Multilateral cooperation and information sharing against terrorists.
- Appropriates $36.8 million to fully implement the foreign student monitoring program.
- The preservation of immigration benefits for victims of terrorism.
Title V. Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism
- The attorney general's authority to pay rewards without dollar limitation to combat terrorism.
- The secretary of State's authority to pay rewards without dollar limitation.
- DNA identification of terrorists and other violent offenders.
- Authorizes consultation between FISA officers and law enforcement officers to coordinate efforts.
- Gives the U.S. Secret Service concurrent jurisdiction to investigate offenses relating to fraud and related activity in connection with computers.
- Permits disclosure of educational records and information from National Center for Educational Statistics surveys relevant to the investigation or prosecution of terrorism.
Title VI. Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers, and Their Families
- Expedited benefits payment for public safety officers involved in the prevention, investigation, rescue, or recovery efforts related to a terrorist attack;
- Raises the total amount of Public Safety Officers Benefits Program payment to $250,000.
- Enhances the authority of the assistant attorney general for Office of Justice Programs to coordinate and manage emergency response activities of its various components, including the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program.
- Amends the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 by replacing the annual cap on the Crime Victims Fund with a self-regulating system, by authorizing private gift-giving to the fund, by increasing the portion of the fund available for discretionary grants and assistance to victims of federal crime, and by increasing the minimum threshold for the annual grant to state compensation programs.
Title VII. Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection expands Regional Information Sharing System (RISS) to facilitate the federal-state-local law enforcement response related to terrorist attacks and doubles the program's authorized funding for FY2002 and FY2003.
Title VIII. Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorist
- Prohibits harboring terrorists and terrorist attacks and other acts of violence against mass transportation systems.
- Extends jurisdiction over crimes committed at U.S. facilities abroad.
- Prohibits providing material support to terrorists.
- Subjects assets of individuals and organizations engaged in planning or perpetrating acts of terrorism against the United States to civil forfeiture.
- Provides a definition of the federal crime of terrorism.
- No statute of limitation for certain terrorism offenses.
- Alternate maximum penalties for terrorism offenses.
- Provides penalties for terrorist conspiracies.
- Post-release supervision of terrorists.
- Inclusion of acts of terrorism as a racketeering activity.
- Clarifies the criminal statute prohibiting computer hacking to cover computers located outside the United States when used in a manner that affects the interstate commerce or communications of the United States; updates the definition of "loss" to ensure full costs to victims of hacking offenses are counted; clarifies the scope of civil liability; and eliminates the current mandatory minimum sentence applicable in some cases.
- Requires the attorney general to establish regional computer forensic laboratories and to support existing computer forensic laboratories to help combat computer crime.
- Amends the current biological weapons statute to include all situations in which it can be proven that the defendant had any purpose other than a prophylactic, protective, or peaceful purpose, and creates a new criminal statute, which generally makes it an offense for certain restricted persons, including non-resident foreign nationals of countries that support international terrorism, to possess a listed biological agent or toxin.
Title IX. Improved Intelligence
- Inclusion of international terrorist activities within scope of foreign intelligence under the National Security Act of 1947.
- A sense of Congress on the establishment and maintenance of intelligence relationships to acquire information on terrorists and terrorist organizations.
- Law enforcement to notify the intelligence community when a criminal investigation reveals information of intelligence value.
- Reconfigures the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center.
- Establishes National Virtual Translation Center.
- Directs the attorney general to establish a training program for federal, state, and local officials on the recognition and appropriate handling of intelligence information discovered in the normal course of their duties.
Title X. Miscellaneous
- DOJ inspector general to review information and receive complaints alleging abuses of civil rights and civil liberties by department employees and officials.
- A sense of Congress condemning discrimination and acts of violence against Sikh-Americans.
- Clarifies the judicial districts in which money laundering prosecutions may be brought.
- Creates first responders assistance grants to states and units of local government to improve the ability of state and local law enforcement, fire departments, and first responders to respond to and prevent acts of terrorism, and authorizes $25 million per year for FYs 2003 to 2007.
- Directs the attorney general to report on the feasibility of using a biometric identifier (fingerprint) scanning system, with access to the FBI fingerprint database, at consular offices abroad and at points of entry into the United States.
- Directs the FBI to report on the feasibility of providing airlines with computer access to the names of suspected terrorists.
- Provides temporary authority for the Department of Defense to enter contracts for the performance of security functions at any U.S. military installation or facility with a proximately located local or state government.
- Amends the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act to require any person engaged in telemarketing for the solicitation of charitable contributions to disclose to the person receiving the call that the purpose of the call is to solicit charitable contributions and to make such other disclosures as the FTC considers appropriate.
- Allows the Department of Transportation to obtain background records checks for any individual applying for a license to transport hazardous materials in interstate commerce.
- A sense of the Senate that the United States should make a substantial new investment this year toward improving state and local preparedness to respond to potential bioterrorism attacks.
- Creates grants to be used by a state, in conjunction with units of local government, to purchase needed equipment and to provide training and technical assistance to state and local first responders, and authorizes such sums as necessary for FYs 2002 through 2007.
- Adds an additional antiterrorism purpose for grants under the Crime Identification Technology Act (CITA), and reauthorizes the program through FY 2007 again at $250 million annually.
- Establishes a National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) to address critical infrastructure protection and continuity through support for activities related to counterterrorism, threat assessment, and risk mitigation, and authorizes for the Department of Defense for FY 2002 $20 million for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency for activities of the NISAC.
On the same day as the USA PATRIOT Act became law, Attorney General John Ashcroft directed all 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices and 56 FBI field offices to implement the new antiterrorism legislation. The attorney general specifically highlighted the following items:
- "Prosecutors will seek judicial authority to intercept communications related to an expanded list of terrorism-related crimes such as: the development, possession, or use of chemical or biological weapons; financial transaction with a terrorist government; or providing material support to terrorists or terrorist organizations. Investigators will use 'roving' wiretaps to intercept communications and thereby thwart the ability of terrorists to evade surveillance by switching phones or communication devices.
- "Investigators will now aggressively pursue terrorists on the Internet. The legislation permits investigators to obtain senders' and receivers' e-mail addresses just as it is done with telephone surveillance. Terrorists employ sophisticated technologies to evade detection and the legislation updates the law to the technology. Investigators will use search warrants to obtain unopened voice-mail and e-mail.
- "New subpoena power will enable authorities to obtain payment information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, of suspected terrorists on the Internet. This will allow investigators to identify the terrorist who hides behind a fictitious Internet name.
- "Investigators will be able to use a single court order to trace a communication nationwide, even when it travels beyond the judicial district that issued the order. The scope of search warrants for unopened e-mail and other evidence will also be nationwide. This improved efficiency will save hours or days in investigations where seconds matter.
- "Law enforcement and intelligence communities will share information on terrorist activities and thus better coordinate their efforts to prevent terrorism."
On Oct. 23, the House passed H.R. 3160, the Bioterrorism Enforcement Act of 2001 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.3160:). The bill would provide criminal penalties for the illegal or unsafe use of certain biological agents and toxins and would require HHS to develop regulations governing possession and use of such biological substances. The criminal provision in H.R. 3160 is similar to the section in Title VIII of the USA PATRIOT Act expanding the coverage of the biological weapons statute.
Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) are still planning as we go to press to introduce a comprehensive bioterrorism bill that could provide funding to federal and state efforts to deal with biological and chemical terrorism. The bill is hung up on the total amount of funding to be authorized presently somewhere between $3 and $5 billion.