I notice similar language in the ledes of a couple stories on Alberto Gonzales' first policy speech. From the Washington Post:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday affirmed his support for controversial anti-terrorism legislation due for congressional renewal this year but indicated he is willing to consider changing some of its provisions to ensure their continuation.
Laying out his law enforcement priorities for the first time since taking office, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales urged Congress on Monday to speed the process for deporting illegal immigrants, end the impasse over judicial nominees and extend federal antiterrorism powers under the USA Patriot Act.
Emphasis mine in both cases. Obviously, it's understandable why one would refer to the PATRIOT Act that way. But how legislation is characterized is probably more important than we realize. As Thomas Sowell has noticed, we have a tendency to name things according to intent—we'll call something an "anti-poverty law" whether or not there's any evidence that it does a damn bit of good at reducing poverty, and the very name helps to elide the question of whether it's effective to that end.
In the case of PATRIOT, though, many of its provisions were sought during the Clinton administration, well before 9/11, for reasons having little to do with terrorism—so even the intent here is questionable. And as the Justice Department's own report revealed last year, the law has been put to plenty of purposes well beyond anything plausibly definable as terrorism. Again, the shorthand's certainly understandable, but since the scope of PATRIOT is often central to the debate over it, that description tends to frame the issue in terms favorable to its proponents—you can't be against fighting terrorism, can you?—even though the aptness of that description is, in a sense, a central point of contention. Just something worth bearing in mind.