Helms School of Government
Government: Politics and Policy
Primary Subject Area
wiretap, wiretapping, electronic surveillance, patriot act, terrorist, terrorism, fourth amendment, executive power, separation of power, constitution
Abstract In 2001, the Patriot Act was passed to provide new tools to combat terrorism. Chief among these new tools is the intelligence gathering method known as wiretapping. The role of wiretapping in the Patriot Act, particularly the constitutionality of this method, includes what criteria must be met to preserve constitutionally protected civil liberties. Wiretapping has had a significant effect as a facet of the Patriot Act on both the personal security and privacy of the American people. Current wiretapping policy lacks clear and appropriate guidelines addressing the modern terrorist threat. Future policy should reflect the need for new criteria to protect the national security and respect constitutionally imposed limits.