The Patriot Act
Writer Mark Schapiro explains the changes to The Patriot Act (Read the full piece in THE NATION.)
On the one-month anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks,
the tobacco industry took aim at Congress's first effort to respond
to the crisis with a major piece of new legislation-what would later
become the USA Patriot Act.
On the morning of October 11, GOP Representative Michael Oxley of
Ohio, Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, brought
what was then called the "Financial Anti-Terrorist Act" before his
committee. The bill was intended to strengthen the hand of US law
enforcement in going after what the Bush administration called "the
financial sources of terrorism." It tightened US restrictions on
money laundering, demanded greater transparency in US financial
institutions and provided new levers for law enforcement to track
international money trails used by terrorist and criminal
What the bill Oxley presented that day did not contain was Section
107(B), which was part of the act when it was first introduced on
October 3, and which would have expanded the definition of money
laundering to include "fraud or any scheme to defraud against a
foreign government or foreign government entity, if such conduct
would constitute a violation of this title if it were committed in
interstate commerce in the United States."
"Tobacco Traffic" is the result of a six-month investigation by NOW with Bill Moyers, THE NATION, and the Center for Investigative Reporting.