First of all the patriot act is unnecassary. The government had the legal capability to do all the things necessary to insure our security already on the law books. The passage of it was nothing more than making the govenment look like it was doing something about the problems when in actuality it was actually undermining the bill of rights.
Wire tapping is perfectly legal with a warrant. There was a special national security court that was set up during the 70's that allows warrants to be issued up to a week after the wire tapping has already been started. The catch is that you have to have probable cause to tap the phone even retroactivly. The problem with this administration is that they do not care that they are breaking the law by refusing to even apply for these warrants which means they are doing blanket wire taps without probable cause at all.
“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Hermann Göring 1946 Nuremberg Trials(Nazi)