The Lasting Effect of the USA PATRIOT Act on International Policy, Domestic Policy and Middle Eastern Populations Pre- and Post-2008: A Triangulative Analysis Using Realist Theory

Zaria K. Kinnebrew


The ratification of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 has significantly altered the fundamental rights of every citizen in the United States of America. This act was put into effect 45 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration. Although the USA PATRIOT Act was established in order to prevent and punish terrorist acts, foreign and domestic, and to improve law enforcement investigatory methods, it eradicated a number of rights the Constitution previously granted all American citizens. Nonetheless, it is still enforced today and is being used predominantly on immigrant populations, primarily Middle Eastern communities. The Realist Theory prioritizes national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions; thus, the hypothesis tested in this study is that nations are inherently aggressive and/or fixated with security, which causes a dilemma where increasing one’s security can cause even greater instability as the opponents develop their own armaments. Consequently, security becomes a zero-sum game where only relative gains can be made. This paper tests the hypothesis by utilizing the triangulative approach and systematically gathering data from primary and secondary sources by using the document analysis technique and expert interviews. The substantive findings generated after data analysis suggest that the hypothesis tested is acceptable.


Terrorism; USA PATRIOT; Eradicated; United States; Security

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