The Patriot Act – Then & Now

In 2009, 16-year-old North Carolinian Ashton Lundeby was arrested after federal agents entered the family’s home around 10:00 p.m.  He was later moved to a juvenile facility in Indiana, charged with making bomb threats via phone.

And, while the threats proved to be a hoax, with no bomb-making materials or any incriminating evidence found, Lundeby was held for nearly two years and his mother was denied opportunity to speak with him though he was a minor.

The press was also denied access to much of the evidence the prosecution claimed to have, apparently because of precedent set by the “Patriot Act.”

Lundeby’s attorneys had maintained that his IP address had been stolen and used in making fake bomb threats via online gaming forums.

Eventually, Lundeby entered a guilty plea, while maintaining that he was framed.  He was sentenced to pay several fines and to time served (22 months).

Also in 2009, President Obama condemned the Bush administration’s abuse of power in fighting terrorism.  Then, in the same speech, Obama argued for “prolonged detention” and “pre-crime” or preventative detention.

Judge Andrew Napolitano addresses how the “Patriot Act” came into being  in a speech delivered four years ago.  This is an important address because, though many Americans are aware of the problems with the Patriot Act, few are aware of the despicable way in which it was pushed into law.

Congress had mere minutes to review the hundreds of pages of legislation, but were still held to a vote on the entire act.  As a result, lawmakers – believing the Bush administration’s promises that it was necessary to “keep Americans safe” – pushed it through with little to no awareness of what it contained.

Ron Paul speaks to the House of Representatives in February 2001, in consideration of extending the Patriot Act.

In spite of Paul’s clear explanation of the Patriot Act’s illegalities, Congress did extend the act and the liberties of American citizens are continually threatened.

The 4th Amendment states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 5th Amendment promises:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Thomas Jefferson warned, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

Benjamin Franklin observed, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”