But It's Been Happening Since ...
Before Americans were afraid of al-Qaida, they were afraid of some guys known as the Ku Klux Klan, who were a bit paler, but otherwise shared the same general questionable fashion sense and love of hate-filled murder. The government responded with the Enforcement Act of 1871, aka the KKK Act, a piece of legislation giving them powers to investigate and prosecute any suspects of cross-burning, race-related murders, and general dickitry. And as the Patriot Act's granddaddy, the 1871 act did the best it could to make its descendants proud: Suspending habeas corpus? You got it. Sending out the Army to support arrest and prosecution? No problem at all. Trying civilians in military courts? Yeah, baby! Entering foreign lands to kidnap terrorists? Sure, why not? Spy drones and wireless taps? Almost certainly!
(We warned you we weren't great with timelines.)
Cracked Fact: No one in those days could use email without fear of being monitored.
The KKK Act worked, and over the years it enabled the government to dismantle the most threatening and hardcore parts of the old-timey Klan, which you will not hear us defending, no matter how shady and frightening the measures to combat them may have been. It's hard to muster up sympathy for folks who justify murder by the amount of melanin their victims possessed.