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USA Patriot Act – 10 Years Old Today

October 26, 2011

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot) Act (P.L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272) was signed into law on October 26, 2001, by President George W. Bush.  It was enacted in response to the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.  As passed, the act included provisions intended, among other things, to enhance domestic security against terrorism, to enhance surveillance, to deter money laundering and financing of terrorists, and to protect United States borders.

In May 2011, President Obama signed reauthorization legislation for several provisions of the Act, including §215, extending these provisions until 2015.  Sec. 215 covers orders requiring production of “any tangible thing,” including business records, and is often referred to as the “library records section.”  Sec. 215 also includes a gag provision, prohibiting disclosure of the order or any details pertaining to it.

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