***** The Patriot Act: Issues and Controversies. By Cary Stacy Smith and Li-Ching Hung; published by Charles C. Thomas Publisher Ltd., www.ccthomas.com; 262 pages; $58.95.
The Patriot Act was passed in the early years of the Bush administration in response to the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The law dramatically expanded law enforcement authority to include the ability to intercept communications, seize funds and property, and to monitor not only foreign visitors but also immigrants and U.S. citizens more closely.
In The Patriot Act: Issues and Controversies, coauthors Cary Stacy Smith and Li-Ching Hung do a thorough job of examining the law and its ramifications. They relate information academically, betraying little, if any, personal opinions.
They discuss issues, such as the legal and administrative failures that contributed to the terrorists’ success on 9-11, most notably the “wall” that prevented information sharing between overseas intelligence and domestic law enforcement agencies and how the law attempted to address such problems. They also discuss agencies created by the law.
Covered in great detail are the law’s controversies involving privacy rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and its expanded definition of some legal terms, including “terrorism” and “money laundering.” This is critical information that students of the law and law enforcement professionals should understand thoroughly.
The text is not without editorial shortcomings, including several spelling and grammatical errors. Quotations from the statute itself are offset from the book’s main text in boxes to highlight key information. Those quotations, however, either precede or follow the relevant passages in the text, making the quotation appear extraneous rather than effective.
This book is worthwhile as a textbook for criminal justice and law students, and as a reference for law enforcement professionals.
Reviewer: Terry V. Culver, CPP, CAS (Certified Antiterrorism Specialist), is security program specialist for the Georgia Tech Research Institute, providing security education and counterintelligence awareness training. She has more than 25 years of experience in private and government defense security, including work as an independent consultant to government contractors and investigation firms. She is a member of ASIS International.