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Explaining the U.S.A. Patriot Act

(CNN) -- The U.S.A. Patriot Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in October 2001. The legislation,

Major provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, passed in October 2001, include:

-- Relaxed restrictions on information sharing between U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officers about suspected terrorists. -- Makes it illegal to knowingly harbor a terrorist.


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-- Authorization of "roving wiretaps," so that law enforcement officials can get court orders to wiretap any phone a suspected terrorist would use. The provision was needed, advocates said, with the advent of cellular and disposable phones.

-- Allowing the federal government to detain non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism for up to seven days without specific charges. The administration originally wanted to hold them indefinitely.

-- Allowing law enforcement officials greater subpoena power for e-mail records of terrorist suspects.

-- Tripling the number of Border Patrol, Customs Service Inspectors and Immigration and Naturalization Service inspectors at the northern border of the United States, and providing $100 million to improve technology and equipment on the U.S. border with Canada.

-- Expanding measures against money laundering by requiring additional record keeping and reports for certain transactions and requiring identification of account holders.

-- Eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecuting the most egregious terrorist acts, but maintaining the statute of limitation on most crimes at five to eight years.




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