The American Civil Liberties Union, in its July 2003 report "UNPATRIOTIC ACT: the FBI's Power to Rifle Through Your Records and Personal Belongings Without Telling You," stated:
"The USA PATRIOT Act vastly expands the FBI’s authority to monitor people living in the United States. These powers can be used not only against terrorists and spies but also against ordinary, law abiding people – immigrants from Iraq or Italy, dentists from Detroit or Denver, truck drivers from Tampa or Tulsa, painters from Peoria or Pittsburgh. Indeed, the FBI can use these powers to spy on any United States citizen or resident."
David Cole, JD, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, stated in a July 15, 2003 interview with Bryant Gumbel, posted on The Flashpoints USA with Bryant Gumbel and Gwen Ifill:
"It gives the government the ability to spy on its citizens and on foreign nationals without probable cause of a crime, to get wiretaps and warrants. It gives them the ability to get records from libraries and book stores on people who are not targets of any criminal investigation, who are not targets of any foreign intelligence investigation and who are not suspected of engaging in any illegal activity. (...)
But it's one thing to make some sacrifices in terms of privacy but another thing to throw the forth amendment out the window (...)."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), posted a statement in the PATRIOT Act section of its website (accessed Nov. 24, 2004) that stated, in part:
"Foreign and domestic intelligence agencies can more easily spy on Americans. Powers under the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) have been broadened to allow for increased surveillance opportunities. FISA standards are lower than the constitutional standard applied by the courts in regular investigations. PATRIOT partially repeals legislation enacted in the 1970s that prohibited pervasive surveillance of Americans."
John Podesta, JD, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, stated in the Winter 2002 "USA Patriot Act - the Good, the Bad, the Sunset," in the Human Rights Magazine of the American Bar Association's Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities:
"Notwithstanding the haste with which Congress acted, the provisions of the new law relating to electronic surveillance, for the most part, are a sound effort to provide new tools for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism while preserving the civil liberties of individual Americans.
Some changes simply update our surveillance laws to reflect the fact that we live in a digital age. Other sections expand the surveillance powers of our law enforcement and intelligence communities in ways that make sense in light of the new threats facing our country."
Claudia Winkler, Managing Editor of The Weekly Standard, wrote the Apr. 28, 2004 "Who's Afraid of the Patriot Act?" for The Daily Standard, which stated:
"To say the Patriot Act authorizes the FBI to spy on people because of their taste in reading is like saying that equipping beat cops with night sticks authorizes the police to bludgeon old ladies who annoy them. Sure, a rogue element at the FBI can run amok. It could before the Patriot Act. It can after the Patriot Act--not by doing what the law authorizes, but by breaking the law."
Robert S. Mueller, III, JD, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in his July 23, 2003 testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, stated:
"Mr. Chairman, it is important for the Committee and the American people to know that the FBI is using the Patriot Act authorities in a responsible manner. We are making every effort to effectively balance our obligation to protect Americans from terrorism with our obligation to protect their civil liberties."