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Debating The Patriot Act

KXAN-TV

The Austin City Council has adopted a resolution against the Patriot Act. The council approved the measure late Thursday night by a vote of four to three.

Before making the decision, council members heard arguments both for and against the law, which gives the government more surveillance powers.

It took more than four hours for the city council members to adopt a resolution regarding the Patriot Act. That's because dozens of people signed up to talk on behalf of the act, and at one point, the meeting got a bit heated.

"I personally would like all our children to live in a country where they can have the say and the control over their lives and not some corrupt government official telling them what they can and cannot do," a citizen said.

"The U.S.A. Patriot Act is unnecessary, it is an insult to Americans. It is an insult to our heritage and everyone who has worked together to create this country," a citizen said.

"For the first time in my lifetime, I'm hearing from more and more people who are worried that fascism could indeed happen here," a citizen said.

Speakers varied, but opinions towards the Patriot Act rarely did that is until we interveiwed Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Sievert.

"The very first thing the Patriot Act does is allows the FBI and the CIA and Department of Justice and other agencies to cooperate with each other," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Sievert said, "and share information, so that we can make sure we can spot, identify terrorists and hopefully prevent terrorism."

But in the middle of our conversation, activist Alex Jones called the assistant attorney a liar. He says the Patriot Act gives permission to search homes without warrants.

"And now, under the new Patriot Act, they have sections where they say all officers may not even need these administrative sopenas or warrants. They can just cart blanch, go anywhere they want for any crime," Alex Jones, activist, said. 

"The status of warrants is the same as it always has been. To do a search of a residence, we have to go to a judge and show probable cause, and a federal judge has to authorize it, and there is no changing that," Sievert said.
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