Patriot Act Turns 20

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The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, commonly known as the Patriot Act, was enacted by Congress 20 years ago. The Onion looks back at the key moments in the history of the Patriot Act.

  • 2001: Bush administration officials write Patriot Act in direct anticipation of 9/11.
  • 2002: Intelligence-sharing provision finally allows CIA and FBI to exchange phone numbers.
  • 2003: NSA agents realize spying on Americans less exciting now that it legal.
  • 2004: Irony of act’s name finally dawns on UNLV student Mitch Waverly.
  • 2006: Few hundred provisions added specifically about filmmaker Michael Moore.
  • 2011: Obama perfectly fine with this after all.
  • 2012: Patriot Act updated to address threats from new liberties.
  • 2013: Edward Snowden alleges act being abused to do exactly what lawmakers intended.
  • 2019: Department of Homeland Security thrown into chaos after Quincy, MA woman Cheryl Diller puts Post-it over laptop camera.
  • 2055: Look, they’ll get around to repealing the act eventually, okay?