Don't Mention It: Patriot Act

Karen Greenberg in The Takeaway, October 04, 2012

Media Source

Ahead of the 2008 election, the Patriot Act was a major campaign issue. “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom," then-Senator Obama said in 2007. "That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens, no more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime, no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war, no more breaking the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are and that is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.”

Once he was in office, though, President Obama quietly reinforced the measures laid out by the Bush Administration in the Patriot Act, using an autopen to sign an extension of the Patriot Act. Now, nearly four years later, any substantive discussion of the Patriot Act is all but missing from the campaign trail.

How did this hot issue become a non-issue? Has the country forgotten about the Patriot Act? Or do the candidates just hope that we have? Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University's School of Law takes a closer look as part of The Takeaway's Don't Mention It Series.