This Day in the Law
October 26

President Bush Signs USA PATRIOT Act (2001)

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act. The USA PATRIOT Act, which is an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,” was created in response to the events of 9/11.

The USA PATRIOT Act was a spirited, bipartisan piece of legislation that was intended to take a stand against terrorism and related activities. It essentially increased the abilities and capabilities of both intelligence agencies and law enforcement units to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States. It also gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) more power to access personal information of individuals, including both medical and financial records.

Despite the ongoing legal disputes spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and members of Congress, a renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act was passed by both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and was signed by President George W. Bush in 2006.