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Controversy

The USA PATRIOT Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment.

Opponents of the Act have been quite vocal in asserting that it was passed opportunistically after the September 11 attacks, believing that there would have been little debate. They view the Act as one that was hurried through the Senate with little change before it was passed (Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) proposed amendments to modify the final revision).[166][167][168]

The sheer magnitude of the Act itself was noted by Michael Moore in his controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11. In one of the scenes of the movie, he records Congr

The USA PATRIOT Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment.

Opponents of the Act have been quite vocal in asserting that it was passed opportunistically after the September 11 attacks, believing that there would have been little debate. They view the Act as one that was hurried through the Senate with little change before it was passed (Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) proposed amendments to modify the final revision).[166][167][168]

The sheer magnitude of the Act itself was noted by Michael Moore in his controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11. In one of the scenes of the movie, he records Congressperson Jim McDermott (D-WA) alleging that no Senator had read the bill[169] and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) as saying, "We don't read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail if we read every bill that we passed?" Congressperson Conyers answers his own question, saying that if they did read every bill, it would "slow down the legislative process".[170] As a dramatic device, Moore then hired an ice-cream van and drove around Washington, D.C. with a loud speaker, reading out the Act to puzzled passers-by, including a few Senators.[171]

Moore was not the only commentator to notice that not many people had read the Act. When Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turne for Slate asked, "How bad is PATRIOT, anyway?", they decided that it was "hard to tell" and stated: