Gulag USA-Before Homeland Security, A Life Of Fraud Fighting

You may think its science fiction or you may think its daily life. In either case,the choice is yours.
My opinion? Too many coincidences to ignore,too many “co-operating “interests, tell me how many have been poisoned by the gulf oil spill? nobody warned them.If the g’mt didnt warn the citizens of a toxic dispersant to be used why should it warn them about the Patriot act and its effects on the civil rights.
I should be quoting Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit
but i cant.

So please do watch the full movie here.. right above or on youtube or just type "Fahrenheit 9 11 "on your browser.When i was still having the Insomniacs blog
  before my partners in crime (:P:P:P) let me down and abandoned the blogging ship,i  or we,or we all,well no matter who ,we were all posting those big corpo crimes,the connection between corporations,war machine,alleged terrorism and politricks. Yes,politricks.

It wasn’t just Bush ambushing the american people,not mentioning the rest of the world, because with the Patriot Act he just ambusehed all middle east people,all african people,all that were opposing the system( take a look at Peace Fresno and their cookies )

What do you do when you dont feel safe in your country? Flee? Nope. Move? Nope.Panic? Of course not.

Because we all have to  feel secure in our own countries but if you take a close look in all terrorist acts founded after the 9/11 you will realize they are more based in cultivating a certain seed of fear than facing a real threat.By now,we all know pretty much the truth.But the acts are still here.

I am not actually the one  writing this article,because a) I am going to be sued for copyright infringement  and all that that you all know by hard already.All the videos on here are from YouTube free license,i feel no need to steal anyone’s hard paid work. b) because you know all that and more than that and c) but NSA and HomelandSEcurity applies only in the USA,have you ever considered how the staged 9/11 has affected millions of people who live in the ooops whoa sensitive areas”?People with jobs and families,five kids,a school bus and three dogs,with ordinary lives and a tiny house somewhere in the land where the sun rises from? Those are people too.


In fact i am just combining my own thoughts with published articles. I still think IT IS my fault that i never stopped feeling overwhelmed by such a life costing disaster. And speaking of life costing ones,I never checked on how many  pets died that very day,let alone how many animals died in Iraq or Afghanistan, we are still counting human lives.

Before Homeland Security, A Life Of Fraud Fighting


March/April 2009


When we hear of Michael Chertoff, many of us think of travel restrictions at the airport, illegal immigration, the war against terrorism, or hurricanes. But few know that long before he became the second secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chertoff got his start by tackling corporate fraud, political corruption, and organized crime.

In the 1980s, Chertoff was assistant to Rudolph Giuliani, then the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Giuliani was prosecuting leaders of La Cosa Nostra (an organized crime syndicate), but he decided to head up another case and gave the mobsters to Chertoff. The assistant prosecutor got convictions for all the Mafia bosses and Chertoff’s star began to rise.

As the top U.S. prosecutor in New Jersey he went after the infamous electronics tycoon “Crazy Eddie” Antar who was convicted of racketeering and securities fraud. Chertoff also put Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann in federal prison for defrauding investors through a savings-and-loan scam.

After a stint in private law practice, Chertoff became assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division where he led the investigation of Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen.

He was the senior Justice Department official on duty at the FBI command center right after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Chertoff co-authored the USA PATRIOT Act, which was signed into law shortly after the attacks.

He was serving as the U.S. circuit judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals when he was named head of DHS.

Despite his varied career as a government administrator, Chertoff’s heart remained in the courtroom. “When I graduated from law school, I had no clear vision about what kind of law I wanted to practice,” he recently said. “But I did know I wanted to be in the courtroom.”

With the advent of the new presidential administration, Chertoff has retired from his Homeland Security post, but he now has time to offer counsel from lessons he’s learned from his varied career. He will be a keynote speaker at the 20th Annual ACFE Fraud Conference and Exhibition July 12-17 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nev.

Your career seems to have revolved around the rule of law and justice issues whether as a federal prosecutor, a circuit judge, an assistant attorney general, or the DHS secretary. What originally drew you to the law, and did you have a career path when you graduated from Harvard Law School?

When I graduated from law school, I had no clear vision about what kind of law I wanted to practice, but I did know I wanted to be in the courtroom. Fortunately, some of my early mentors like Judge Murray Gurfein of the U. S. Court of Appeals encouraged me to consider a position as a federal prosecutor. I found that this appealed not only to my interest in courtroom experience but, more deeply, to my desire for public service.

Throughout your career, you investigated and prosecuted fraud cases. As a partner in a law firm you were national chair of its white-collar criminal practice. You’re known for prosecuting mobster cases and the Crazy Eddie case. But can you talk about some of the other lesser-known cases that intrigued you and were unique learning experiences?
Every fraud case is a learning experience. As a young prosecutor, I investigated and prosecuted embezzlements, tax frauds, and other crimes. One early case involved the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Sullivan County in New York State. As the top elected official in the county, he fraudulently expended federal grant moneys for his own benefit. In another case, the mayor of Jersey City was convicted of siphoning thousands of dollars from bank investors for his own use. These cases vividly teach that auditors and examiners need to pay special attention to those who hold positions of trust and power because they have often have the ability to override the normal controls that are in place.

What is your philosophy on the correlation between organizational fraud and the threat to U.S. national security?

While most fraud is not a national security issue, terrorist and other security threats not infrequently involve fraud. Document fraud is almost always essential to terrorists, because they need false identification to cross borders or enter secure areas. Money laundering is critical for those engaged in terrorist finance. And some terrorist groups use fraud and crime as financing mechanisms. For example, several years ago the government convicted a 28-year-old man for materially supporting terrorism by funneling the proceeds of a multi-million dollar cigarette smuggling scheme to Hezbollah.

What are some of the latest fraud schemes – money laundering or otherwise – that would-be terrorists and possible front groups are using?

As I mentioned, cigarette smuggling and other schemes have been fruitful sources of income for terrorist groups. Similarly, terrorist groups typically launder money to disguise their sources of funding. As the Treasury Department has cracked down on terrorist finance, more terrorists are moving outside the banking system, using informal money exchanges or cash couriers.

What kind of advice can you give our ACFE members about the global aspects of fraud and white-collar crime?

Globalization has dramatically increased the risk of fraud and similar crimes. The lack of a single comprehensive regulatory authority makes it much harder for investigators to gain access to fraud perpetrators. Differing legal rules increase the difficulty of policing misconduct across national boundaries. Further, in those parts of the world where corruption is prevalent, or where much of the financial activity takes place outside established financial channels, tracing money is extraordinarily difficult. That places a special burden on multinational corporations to maintain rigorous controls over their internationally distributed activities.

According to an article in the Harvard Law Bulletin, law-thriller novelist Scott Turow, one of your Harvard Law School classmates, said you were never “reluctant to debate with anybody” and that you were “self-confident, assertive, but never obnoxious.” Supposedly, he adapted many of your law-school exchanges for his first book, “One L,” a semi-fictional account of life as a first-year student at Harvard Law. How have your persuasive skills aided you in investigating and prosecuting fraudsters?

My approach has been to begin every investigation with a picture of the case that you might eventually prosecute. That means that the collection of evidence and the interviewing of witnesses must progress as if you are filling in the blanks in a closing argument. Of course, as facts develop the eventual picture may change. But the key is to engage in the process of assembling the proof with a clear vision of how the pieces will fit into the final narrative of the fraud. If the investigation is successful, you will have all the pieces of evidence to support the summation at the end of a trial. The persuasiveness lies not in the rhetoric but in the disciplined marshaling of facts that speak for themselves.

Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, founder and Chairman of the ACFE, has always supported the promotion of anti-fraud training in higher education. What can you say to encourage budding fraud examiners either still in college or just beginning their careers?

Bluntly, fraud examiners, auditors, and fraud prevention specialists will never find themselves running out of business. To the contrary, as more and more financial transactions occur electronically, opportunities for criminal enrichment will flourish in the areas of financial manipulation and fraud, rather than traditional criminal fields like robbery. That’s why, during the 1990s, organized crime increasingly turned its focus from loan sharking and other traditional mob activities to stock fraud and credit card fraud. For example, when I was secretary of Homeland Security, I announced that the Secret Service had busted the largest identity theft in history – more than 40 million credit card numbers stolen and millions of dollars fraudulently obtained.

What general – or specific – advice would you have for our ACFE members as they tackle fraud cases in the public and private sectors?

As fraud – and fraud prevention – become global, the ability to validate and certify the professional credentials of those who combat fraud becomes more important. That way, businesses around the world have the assurance that those they employ to defeat fraud meet appropriate standards of skill and integrity. I know that the ACFE has chapters around the world including China and the Middle East. Because many national economies have relatively immature auditing sectors, I would encourage the ACFE to enhance its international outreach. Recent events like the major financial Satyam fraud uncovered in India provide opportunities to expand your reach.

The recession is beginning to reveal frauds (such as the Madoff Ponzi scheme) and undoubtedly will cause other fraud problems. What are your thoughts on the relationship between troubling economic times and fraud? Have you seen a correlation in past recessions?

Troubled economies generally reveal frauds in two ways. First, fraudulent Ponzi-type schemes that were concealed during a rising tide of economic prosperity suddenly emerge when the tide begins to ebb. We saw this most recently and tragically in the alleged $50 billion Madoff scandal. Second, companies dealing with earnings shrinkage are sometimes tempted to “paper over” bad financial news with short-term fraud. We saw this during the dot-com bust and in the Enron case.

What do you think that CFEs can contribute during this severe international economic downturn?

The global financial crisis is, at its bottom, a crisis of trust. Whether there are questions about the value of assets or anxiety about other Madoffs in the wings, economic activity will not energize until people are convinced that they can invest or transact business with confidence. By establishing a recognized standard for fraud prevention and detection, CFEs provide the assurance to the market that’s a condition of returning to normalcy. At a time when accountants and rating agencies have sometimes failed to live up to their professional standards, the training and values embodied by credentialing will have increasing importance.

As the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, you led the investigation of Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. You moved to indict Andersen instead of accepting its offer to negotiate a settlement, obviously a difficult choice. What made you decide to go in that direction?

Actually, Arthur Andersen was offered the opportunity to have a settlement: a monitorship with an admission of wrongdoing. But Arthur Andersen did not want to acknowledge wrongdoing in its destruction of documents relating to the Enron case. To have failed to hold them accountable would have sent the message that large firms are held to a different standard of compliance because they are too big to fail. The lesson must be that no entity is too big or too important to take responsibility for criminal wrongdoing.

You were a co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act. What anti-fraud tenets did you keep in mind when you wrote the Act?

Although the USA PATRIOT Act was focused on terrorism, the anti-money laundering provisions reflect a long-standing concern that the opaque nature of offshore shell banks and other financial entities posed a real threat of money laundering for financial crimes and other frauds. The anti-money laundering provisions of the Act were designed to give the treasury secretary authority to reach and gain visibility into foreign entities that might be vehicles for money laundering. We understood that the channels of money laundering may be used for a variety of criminal purposes, whether funding terrorism or concealing the proceeds of fraud.

Title III of the Act, “International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001” amends portions of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 and the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. Do you think this section of the Act, which was included to strengthen banking rules against money laundering internationally, has made a difference in fraud cases even apart from those connected to terrorism? Do you think this section has improved communication between law enforcement agencies and financial institutions?

Among the first applications of the new law were efforts to get information about monetary transactions involving frauds and corruption. The enhanced requirements for vetting customers also raised barriers to corrupt officials who seek to use the banking system to conceal their ill-gotten gains. Soon after the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, I met with representatives of our leading financial institutions and secured their commitment to work with us to detect and intercept channels of illicit finance. While most of the work under this title was carried out by the Treasury Department, I know that the Act allowed our financial regulators to clamp down on overseas institutions that were allowing flagrant misuse of the international financial system.

When you arrived at the DHS, it was still trying to consolidate 22 disparate agencies into one department. The DHS inspector general at the time reported some organizational and management challenges. Can you share some of the fraud-related improvements? Other general improvements?

I’m happy to report that we had no significant financial or fraud-related scandals at DHS during my tenure. Consolidating numerous financial and operating systems was not easy, and the job is not complete. Nevertheless, we dramatically reduced our material deficiencies from an audit standpoint and we also elevated our computer security FISMA [Federal Information Security Management ACT] grade from an F – when I first arrived – to better than a B plus. More generally, we developed a unified and integrated joint planning and operational capability, significantly improved morale, built a unified IT structure, created a unified IT back-up system, and developed a career development plan that promotes interagency experience.

What must the DHS do in the future to continue to be a viable department?

While the foregoing initiatives must be completed, the biggest single additional improvement would be moving DHS to a unified headquarters campus. Happily, I am able to report that in the few weeks before my departure, the National Capital Region planning authorities approved the establishment of a campus at the former site of Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Southeast Washington. Congress has appropriated money to begin construction, and I believe that within the next few years this major initiative will be completed.

What did you enjoy most about your tenure as DHS secretary?

The opportunity to work with many of the 218,000-plus employees of DHS. I have joined them on horseback patrol at the Southwest border, crewed with them on a motor lifeboat in 20-foot seas at Cape Disappointment, slept on a cot with our emergency workers during Hurricane Gustav, overnighted on a Coast Guard cutter in the Arctic Circle, and had many other terrific experiences working with DHS personnel. These have been rewarding experiences. In the end, the most important has been working with them to keep our country safe.

Dick Carozza is editor-in-chief of Fraud Magazine.

Chertoff’s Career Includes Fraud Fighting, 9/11 Response, Mob Prosecutions

On Feb. 15, 2005, Michael Chertoff was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the second secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He formerly served as U.S. circuit judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Chertoff stepped down as DHS secretary in January 2009.

Previous to his DHS post, Chertoff was confirmed by the Senate in 2001 to serve as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. In that position, he oversaw the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also formed the Enron Task Force, which produced more than 20 convictions including those of CEOs Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay.

Before joining the George W. Bush administration, Chertoff was a partner in the law firm of Latham & Watkins. From 1995 to 1996, he served as special counsel for the U.S. Senate Whitewater Committee.

Prior to that, Chertoff spent more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, including service as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, first assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. As a federal prosecutor, Chertoff investigated and personally prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, and corporate fraud.

Chertoff graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1975 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978. From 1979 to 1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr.

Credits go to the link right above.



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Criminal Justice Magazine
Summer 2002
Volume 17 Issue 2

Computer Crimes and the USA PATRIOT Act

By Ellen S. Podgor

“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” is the full title of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), but the content appears to go far beyond fighting terrorism. This is particularly true with respect to computer crimes.

Discussions of the Patriot Act seldom focus on the effect this legislation will have in fighting computer crime. People either express delight at law enforcement’s increased ability to use surveillance tools like roving wiretaps or they lament the decrease in civil liberties resulting from new monitoring now permitted under this Act.

Yet within the Patriot Act are important changes that will increase prosecutorial power in fighting computer crimes. Specifically, the Act references the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030) with both procedural and substantive changes that may significantly influence future prosecutions. There are also changes that will make it easier for law enforcement to investigate computer crimes. Although many changes speak to fighting terrorism and specifically cyberterrorism, the title and purpose of the Patriot Act are the only apparent limits to these modifications. As such, the statutory changes are likely to extend beyond these titles to include acts of fraud, identity theft, and other activities that are common forms of computer crimes. Some of the new procedural changes are permanent; however, lacking congressional action, some changes will expire under sunset provisions on December 31, 2005.

Procedural changes

Although not directly focused on computer crimes, the Patriot Act includes changes to several procedural-related statutes that are likely to aid in prosecuting computer-related activity. For example, under certain circumstances grand jury information can now be shared and customer records can be disclosed. These procedural enhancements are not directly tied to computer crimes, but are likely to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting them.

Prior to the Patriot Act, Internet service providers were limited in their ability to provide information to law enforcement. The Act expands the circumstances under which service providers can now notify law enforcement of suspicious information, as, for example, when the service provider “reasonably believes that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure of the information without delay.”

In addition to generic changes, the Patriot Act contains two procedural modifications that directly focus on computer activity. First, it specifically adds felony acts related to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the list of predicates that can serve as the basis for receiving authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications. A second procedural change that directly targets computer crimes is found in a section that authorizes the interception of computer trespasser communications.

With the permission of the owner or operator of a “protected computer,” a term defined in the computer fraud statute, law enforcement may now intercept communications to and from the computer trespasser when the “person acting under color of law has reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of the computer trespasser’s communications will be relevant to the investigation.” A new statutory provision specifically defines “computer trespassers.” This provision will likely increase law enforcement’s role in hacking cases.

Investigative changes

The Act recognizes the need to increase computer tools for investigating cybercrime. Section 816 of the Patriot Act—titled the “Development and Support of Cybersecurity Forensic Capabilities”—calls for the U.S. attorney general to establish regional computer forensic laboratories. These laboratories are for “training and educating” “federal, state, and local law enforcement” in their investigations of computer crimes. It appears from the wording of this section that these new investigative tools are not limited to cyberterrorism, but are meant to cover all computer-related crime.

The Patriot Act also increases the types of law enforcement individuals who may now be a part of investigations for some computer crimes. Prior to the new legislation, the Secret Service was allowed to participate in some, but not all, of the investigations of different computer offenses listed within the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. As a result of the new law, the investigative powers of the Secret Service are extended to include all offenses within the computer fraud and abuse statute. Primary authority, however, is provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for offenses such as those related to espionage and foreign intelligence (18 U.S.C. § 1030(d)(2)).

Substantive changes

There are several substantive criminal law changes within the Patriot Act that are directly related to the prosecution of computer crimes. These can be found in sections pertaining to money laundering, defining the federal crime of terrorism, and revising the computer fraud statute.

Money laundering.One of the key money laundering statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 1956, finds a new, specified unlawful activity in its addition of crimes related to computer fraud and abuse under 18 U.S.C. § 1030. This section in the USA Patriot Act does not limit the money laundering charges to cases of terrorism or to specific provisions within the computer fraud and abuse statute. It merely includes this new form of a specified unlawful activity by name and statute number, without placing any limits on what type of computer activity can form the basis of a specified unlawful activity for purposes of money laundering. This means that we may now see money-laundering charges as an additional count in some indictments that were previously limited to charges of computer fraud.

Defining computer crimes as acts of terrorism.The definition of terrorism has been a subject of significant international debate, but from a domestic perspective the term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2332(b) (acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries). The second part of the definition relies upon criminal violations that are specifically listed in the statute. Prior to the Patriot Act, computer crimes were not among the offenses upon which a charge of terrorism could be based. Now terrorism can now be premised upon some of the conduct provisions within the computer fraud and abuse statute. The fact that all types of computer criminality listed in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are not included in the Patriot Act demonstrates that there was an effort made to limit the definition of computer terrorism to acts involving espionage and cyberterrorism. Acts that recklessly cause damage, or just cause damage, will not be a sufficient basis for claiming that it constitutes terrorism. To meet the definition of terrorism, a computer crime will require that the action be knowingly committed and the damage intentional. The fact that Congress decided to include certain computer crimes as acts of terrorism is an indication that cyberterrorism is a concern of the highest magnitude.

Revising the computer fraud statute. Since Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute (18 U.S.C. § 1030) in 1984, there have been several amendments to its language. As it exists today, it provides for the prosecution of seven different types of computer-related conduct. The different forms of conduct listed in the statute each specify a mens rea and basis for jurisdiction. Some of the different activities covered by this statute are electronic espionage, intentionally accessing a computer without authorization, browsing in a government computer, acts of theft from protected computers, trafficking in passwords, and extortion conduct related to computers. The substance of many of these provisions remains unchanged by the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act does, however, include several modifications to 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The changes are in section 814 of the Patriot Act, titled “Deterrence and Prevention of Cyberterrorism.” These modifications relate to the scope of the statute, definitions, and penalties. There are also technical modifications that concern the structure of the statute. Some of these changes are far removed from terrorism concerns. For example, there is an amendment to the civil provisions of the computer fraud and abuse statute that now excludes civil actions based upon “negligent design or manufacture of computer hardware, computer software, or firmware.”

The following looks at some of the key changes that the Patriot Act makes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. A description of other provisions can be found in the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section’s Field Guidance on New Authorities That Relate to Computer Crime and Electronic Evidence Enacted in the USA Patriot Act of 2001 (

Among the changes include the fact that the government can now prosecute extraterritorial computer crimes. One modification expands the scope of the statute and is found in a section that redefines a “protected computer” to include those that are located outside the United States. This language provides extraterritorial jurisdiction whenever the term “protected computer” is used in the statute. Surprisingly, however, it does not limit extraterritoriality to acts of national security or terrorism. As such, computer acts involving acts of fraud that are unrelated to terrorism may be the subject of a United States prosecution even when the computer is located outside the country. It is only required that the protected computer be “used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.”

In light of the breadth of this new provision, particularly since computer activity operates worldwide, courts may need to consider whether this new provision is applied in keeping with international law. The Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law § 403 lists considerations that one can use in determining the reasonableness of the jurisdiction to prescribe. If prosecutors decide to pursue extraterritorial prosecutions, issues of comity may be at the forefront of the discussion.

The Act also redefines “damage” and “loss.” Prior to the Patriot Act, the definition of “damage” included four possible circumstances, such as causing loss aggregating to $5,000 in a year, causing physical injury to any person, and threatening public health and safety. These have been relocated as part of the substantive crime under section (a)(5), which involves “the transmission of a program, information, code, or command” or “intentionally accessing of a protected computer without authorization.” The Patriot Act adds another element to the list of conduct upon which action can be premised: “damage affecting a computer system used by or for a government entity in furtherance of the administration of justice, national defense, or national security.” “Damage,” a term still listed in the definition section of this statute, is defined as “any impairment to the integrity or ability of data, a program, a system, or information.”

The net result of this amendment is that prosecutors will now have to prove the result of the conduct as opposed to relying on a jury instruction that merely defines damage as one of four possibilities. They will, however, have an added basis for proceeding when the result is related to national security or defense. Although this provision appears to be in keeping with the focus of the Act—to stop terrorism—the fact that it includes computer systems “used by or for a government entity in furtherance of the administration of justice” can have far-reaching effects that go well beyond what is commonly considered terrorism. Court interpretations may prove helpful here in reining in this language.

Prosecutors may have an easier road in proving “loss,” a term that is now specifically defined within the statute. Loss now includes “any reasonable cost to any victim, including the cost of responding to an offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring the data, program, system, or information to its condition prior to the offense, and any revenue lost, cost incurred, or other consequential damages incurred because of interruption of service.” The breadth of this definition will probably make it relatively easy for prosecutors to meet the $5,000 required level.

The Patriot Act greatly increases the penalties for those who cause damage to protected computers. These penalties are not restricted to completed offenses, but rather include attempts. It is now possible that a first-time offender, who intentionally causes damage, will receive a penalty of 10 years, and a repeat offender, who either intentionally or recklessly causes damage, will receive a penalty of 20 years. Additionally, one can become a repeat offender as a result of a state conviction that exceeds a year and involves “unauthorized access, or exceeding unauthorized access, to a computer.” The Patriot Act also includes an “[a]mendment of sentencing guidelines relating to certain computer fraud and abuse,” that instructs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to adjust the guidelines “to ensure that any individual convicted of a violation of section 1030 title 18, United States Code, can be subjected to appropriate penalties, without regard to any mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.”


There is nothing new or shocking about the fact that many of the provisions in the Patriot Act have no direct relevance to terrorism, cyberterrorism, or protection of the government or individuals from future acts like those experienced on September 11. It is common that congressional acts include provisions with no relevance to the main purpose and title of the act. What may be unique here are the speed at which the Patriot Act was passed and the purpose for the haste. One wonders whether it was necessary, in light of these extenuating circumstances, to include provisions with far-reaching effects beyond terrorism.

With new investigative tools, relaxed procedural requirements, and extended substantive crimes, it is likely that computer prosecutions will reach a higher level than has been seen in the past. It is also likely that many of these new provisions will open the door to questions that will require judicial interpretation. With technology proceeding at a pace that is faster than the laws that seek to control it, the revisions in the Patriot Act may be back on the congressional writing table faster than other modifications contained within this new legislation. We can already see signs of this happening in the recent proposed Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2001, proposed legislation that aims to increase penalties beyond those already provided for in the Patriot Act.

Ellen S. Podgor , a professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, Georgia, is coauthor of White Collar Crime: Law & Practice (J. Israel & P. Borman, West, 1996), White Collar Crime in a Nutshell 2d Ed. (J. Israel, West, 1997); and International Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (E. Wise, Lexis 2000).