- Written by Flex Your Rights
That's largely a myth. There are many reasons to be concerned about the constitutional impact of the PATRIOT Act, NDAA and the War on Terror in general, but it doesn't reduce your rights during a routine police encounter. Anti-terrorism legislation gives federal agents broad powers to investigate potential terrorist activities, but it doesn't apply to the local cops in our neighborhoods or the state police patrolling our highways. As far as the powers of your local sheriff or state highway patrol are concerned, they have had zero impact. If you're accused of terrorism, you've got big problems, but chances are you won't be sent to Guantanamo Bay for refusing to give consent to a search!
That being said, be mindful that some police officers may use the threat of terrorism to trick citizens into believing they have enhanced search and interrogation powers. For example, police may justify a routine traffic search request by claiming "I'm just searching for guns and explosives". This is simply a cynical way to trick citizens into compliance.
Don't fall for it! You have the right to refuse search requests by asking "Officer, am I free to go." Repeat as needed.