Upon seeing everything in the documentary, I felt helpless upon realizing that there is very little that Americans can do to defend ourselves and protect our liberty. The fact that the government can immediately have ordinary people under surveillance and infiltrate phone conversations and dig through e-mail threads without the need for subpoena and other similar protocols makes me question the true intent of the Patriot Act. Was it signed into a law to really trace potential and existing terrorists around America? Well, maybe, it was created to protect the entire country from sabotage. On the other hand, with the magnitude of authority given by the government to the FBI and the NSA, it is now very easy to believe that the act has the capacity to compromise our individual privacy.
One bothersome section of the clip narrates the Connecticut librarians’ struggle with gag order and the National Security Letter. Whenever they receive an NSL, they are bound to keep the information to themselves so no one, except the FBI, will know that such letter was issued. I can only imagine how difficult it is for the employees to stay silent and not to question the government agency’s intention, no matter how violating the information digging may be. Where is one’s freedom placed in this situation?
Although the USA PATRIOT Act targets to eliminate terrorism and such threats around America, the government should revise other provisions so that the law will not continue to compromise the confidentiality of the US citizens. If the president can impose serious punishments to the FBI and NSA for abusing the act, then all will be fair, I guess.