The Inspector General at the Justice Department recently conducted an in-depth examination of the PATRIOT Act and found no evidence that anyone had the civil rights violated due to the PATRIOT Act. The report found 17 cases of civil rights violations involving the Justice Department, none of which had any relation to the PATRIOT Act.
For all the arguments against PATRIOT, there seems to be very little evidence that any of these arguments were true. By the ACLU one would think that dissenters were being rounded up in the streets and sent to Gitmo, but that simply isn’t the case. Of course, that won’t stop the usual cries from the special interests, but it shows how exaggerated their arguments are. If there are substantive problems with the PATRIOT Act, the atmosphere of hysteria that has surrounded it is decidedly unhelpful in rationally making a set of laws that preserves civil liberties while effectively combatting the very real threat of terrorism.