The Most Important Chart About the Patriot Act You'll See The PATRIOT Act's Real Target: Regular Old Drug Dealers

If you think that the Patriot Act is being used mostly to hunt for the next Osama, allow us to kill that thought for you.

On September 12, 2001, Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh started creating what would come to be known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act—the Patriot Act, for short. The law greatly eased restrictions on what law enforcement officials could do pursuing criminals, with the hope being that we'd soon start apprehending terrorists by the dozen. Ten years later, how's the Patriot Act working out for us?

One look at the graph above, from New York magazine's very thorough 9/11 encyclopedia, shows that those who decried the Patriot Act's civil liberties violations may have been right. The graph depicts the numbers of "sneak-and-peek warrants," those that allow authorities to search private property without immediately notifying the target of the investigation, issued under the Patriot Act from 2006 to 2009: 15 for terrorism, compared to more than 1,600 for everyday drug busts in America's tremendously misguided "war on drugs."

photo via (cc) Flickr user Gage Skidmore