Skip to comments.Remarks by President Bush at Signing of USA Patriot Act of 2001
Posted on 10/26/2001 9:17:04 AM PDT by Native American Female Vet
Remarks by President Bush at Signing of USA Patriot Act of 2001
U.S.Newswire, 10/26/2001 12:03
To: National Desk
Contact: White House Press Office, 202-483-8932 WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the White House:
The East Room
9:49 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning and welcome to the White House. Today, we take an essential step in defeating terrorism, while protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans. With my signature, this law will give intelligence and law enforcement officials important new tools to fight a present danger.
I commend the House and Senate for the hard work they put into this legislation. Members of Congress and their staffs spent long nights and weekends to get this important bill to my desk. I appreciate their efforts, and bipartisanship, in passing this new law.
I want to thank the Vice President and his staff for working hard to make sure this law was passed. I want to thank the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Treasury for being here, both of whom lead important parts of our war against terrorism. I want to thank Attorney General John Ashcroft for spending a lot of time on the Hill to make the case for a balanced piece of legislation. I want to thank the Director of the FBI and the Director of the CIA for waging an incredibly important part on the two-front war -- one overseas, and a front here at home.
I want to thank Governor Tom Ridge for his leadership. I want to thank the members of Congress who are here on the stage, the Leaders, on this impressive effort. Senator Hatch and Senator Leahy and Senator Sarbanes and Senator Graham and Senator Reid.
I also want to thank Representative Porter Goss, LaFalce, Oxley, and Sensenbrenner for their hard work. And I want to welcome the men and women of law enforcement who are here in the White House with us today, as well.
The changes, effective today, will help counter a threat like no other our nation has ever faced. We've seen the enemy, and the murder of thousands of innocent, unsuspecting people. They recognize no barrier of morality. They have no conscience. The terrorists cannot be reasoned with. Witness the recent anthrax attacks through our Postal Service.
Our country is grateful for the courage the Postal Service has shown during these difficult times. We mourn the loss of the lives of Thomas Morris and Joseph Curseen; postal workers who died in the line of duty. And our prayers go to their loved ones.
I want to assure postal workers that our government is testing more than 200 postal facilities along the entire Eastern corridor that may have been impacted. And we will move quickly to treat and protect workers where positive exposures are found.
But one thing is for certain: These terrorists must be pursued, they must be defeated, and they must be brought to justice. (Applause.) And that is the purpose of this legislation. Since the 11th of September, the men and women of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been relentless in their response to new and sudden challenges.
We have seen the horrors terrorists can inflict. We may never know what horrors our country was spared by the diligent and determined work of our police forces, the FBI, ATF agents, federal marshals, Custom officers, Secret Service, intelligence professionals and local law enforcement officials, under the most trying conditions. They are serving this country with excellence, and often with bravery.
They deserve our full support and every means of help that we can provide. We're dealing with terrorists who operate by highly sophisticated methods and technologies, some of which were not even available when our existing laws were written. The bill before me takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists. It will help law enforcement to identify, to dismantle, to disrupt, and to punish terrorists before they strike.
For example, this legislation gives law enforcement officials better tools to put an end to financial counterfeiting, smuggling and money-laundering. Secondly, it gives intelligence operations and criminal operations the chance to operate not on separate tracks, but to share vital information so necessary to disrupt a terrorist attack before it occurs.
As of today, we're changing the laws governing information-sharing. And as importantly, we're changing the culture of our various agencies that fight terrorism. Countering and investigating terrorist activity is the number one priority for both law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Surveillance of communications is another essential tool to pursue and stop terrorists. The existing law was written in the era of rotary telephones. This new law that I sign today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including e-mails, the Internet, and cell phones.
As of today, we'll be able to better meet the technological challenges posed by this proliferation of communications technology. Investigations are often slowed by limit on the reach of federal search warrants.
Law enforcement agencies have to get a new warrant for each new district they investigate, even when they're after the same suspect. Under this new law, warrants are valid across all districts and across all states. And, finally, the new legislation greatly enhances the penalties that will fall on terrorists or anyone who helps them.
Current statutes deal more severely with drug-traffickers than with terrorists. That changes today. We are enacting new and harsh penalties for possession of biological weapons. We're making it easier to seize the assets of groups and individuals involved in terrorism. The government will have wider latitude in deporting known terrorists and their supporters. The statute of limitations on terrorist acts will be lengthened, as will prison sentences for terrorists.
This bill was carefully drafted and considered. Led by the members of Congress on this stage, and those seated in the audience, it was crafted with skill and care, determination and a spirit of bipartisanship for which the entire nation is grateful. This bill met with an overwhelming -- overwhelming agreement in Congress, because it upholds and respects the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution.
This legislation is essential not only to pursuing and punishing terrorists, but also preventing more atrocities in the hands of the evil ones. This government will enforce this law with all the urgency of a nation at war. The elected branches of our government, and both political parties, are united in our resolve to fight and stop and punish those who would do harm to the American people.
It is now my honor to sign into law the USA Patriot Act of 2001. (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)
END 10:57 A.M. EDT
I guess the folks at Klamath better not use acetylene torches to open the head gates again...else they'd be 'terrorists'.
Only if you intend to break the law.
This is the first sign that the terrorist acts of 9/11/01 are succeeding.
We, as a country, have entered into the globalist ideals, as in NO MORE "NATIONAL" CIVIL RIGHTS...the baby has gone down with the bathwater...A sad day for me, and our country, IMHO.
Would you please state WHY you think it a good thing that the subject of a wire-tap warrant should be able to defeat it by changing his location.
Source: Wired News
Published: 7:16 a.m. Oct. 4, 2001 PDT Author: Declan McCullagh
Posted on 10/4/01 10:36 AM Pacific by Pipe Dog
Patriot Bill Moves Along By Declan McCullagh 7:16 a.m. Oct. 4, 2001 PDT
WASHINGTON -- A key House panel has unanimously approved unprecedented surveillance powers for police, capping a fiery weeklong debate over how to balance freedom while fighting terrorism.
Late Wednesday evening, the House Judiciary Committee voted 36-0 in favor of an anti-terrorism bill crafted by GOP and Democratic leaders but opposed by civil liberties groups. The full House will likely vote on the measure by next week.
During the six-hour debate that ended at 8:30 p.m. EDT, which included votes on amendments to the bill, committee members said they felt the so-called Patriot Act -- based loosely on the additional police powers that President Bush had requested -- is a reasonable compromise between liberty and security.
Rep. Robert Scott (D-Virginia) said: "Much of this bill will be an effort to give authority and then safeguard against abuses."
Even legislators such as arch-conservative Bob Barr (R-Georgia), who had criticized the Patriot Act earlier this week, ended up embracing it. "We were able to eliminate or severely limit the most egregious violations of Americans' civil liberties that were contained in the original proposal," Barr said after the vote.
At a Cato Institute event Tuesday afternoon, Barr had taken a far more critical approach: "The philosophy underlying the legislation remains problematic.... There are a number of troubling provisions in this latest draft."
The worries expressed by some groups that are members of the new In Defense of Freedom coalition include: the ease with which police could eavesdrop on the Internet, expanded information-sharing between police, the CIA and similar agencies, and potentially intrusive surveillance of users by their Internet providers.
During Wednesday's markup session, which began at 2 p.m., committee members introduced a slew of amendments -- but, citing the interests of time and cooperation, withdrew nearly all of the proposed changes that did not enjoy overwhelming support.
Among the amendments that the committee approved:
A study of how biometric identification systems -- tied to the FBI fingerprint database -- could be used at U.S. borders and consular offices to nab anyone wanted for a crime. The attorney general has 90 days to prepare a report.
An attempt to limit "forum-shopping" by prosecutors seeking wiretap orders. Since the Patriot Act gives courts the power to order wiretapping anywhere in the U.S., Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) said she was worried that "it would encourage the government to engage in forum searching. If the court that issues the warrant is far from the defendant, it becomes difficult for the person to contest it."
Assurance that Internet providers, which will be required to cooperate with law enforcement's requests for surveillance of users, won't be forced to retool their networks just for police convenience. That amendment was introduced by Rick Boucher (D) and Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia.
Allowance for individuals to sue police who leak information obtained in a wiretap. The sponsor, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), described it this way: "If information gained during surveillance is improperly released, you have a right to go in and sue, with a minimum award of $10,000. If someone goes in and wins, the head of the agency which released the information must either initiate action against the leaker or will have to explain why this action was not taken."
The Patriot Act's sponsors, House Judiciary chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), tried to talk committee members out of making additional changes, saying the bill could be reworked in the next few days before the full House voted on it. Rep. Howard Berman (D-California) said that one section of the Patriot Act gives any company that suspects an unauthorized intrusion a broad right to monitor what the suspected trespasser is doing.
"It doesn't limit the intercepts the government can take to or through. It seems to allow a non-judicially authorized tap of a unauthorized computer user or to monitor their computer," Berman said.
Replied Sensenbrenner: "Gentleman makes a good point. We'll take a look at it between now and the floor."
Rep. Goodlatte wanted a better definition of what kind of information police could obtain without a court order.
The Patriot Act increases the utility of the FBI's Carnivore's surveillance system when used in address-only mode, meaning e-mail addresses of correspondents are recorded but not the body of e-mail messages. Any U.S. attorney or state attorney general could order the installation of Carnivore or other Internet wiretaps in emergency situations without obtaining a court order first.
"I'm referring to things like subject, header and what might be typed in below a URL," Goodlatte said. "If someone was to follow you around on the Internet they could get quite a dossier on someone. It would be good if it made it clear that this legislation did not include content."
Sensenbrenner promised to "work on getting the appropriate language in the committee report."
Some members worried about expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law that created a secret court for spy-related investigations that now would be broadened and made more powerful.
Rep. Scott described an Orwellian society that would arise if police receive the power to wiretap any phones a suspect might use: "Even pay phones will be tapped under this tag, or a neighbor's phone that the subject may use. If this (amendment) is not adopted anyone using the corner payphones might have their conversation listened in on."
Replied Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Massachusetts): "There is a part of FISA appropriate to outline the minimization procedure."
Scott eventually withdrew his amendment.
Another anti-terrorist bill is being written by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Leahy's bill, which appears to be gaining support in the Senate, is called the "Strengthening Our Domestic Security Against Terrorist Act."
Leahy's staff are negotiating with the Bush administration over what sections will remain in the final bill.
The Patriot Act stands for "Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."
Ben Polen in Washington contributed to this report
Sounds dangerously like "if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear"... except - loss of privacy, right to be secure in our persons and papers, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, Constitutional protection from vengeful government officials...
If you are paranoid please take prosac!!! That will calm you down.
Just think if you threaten anyone for any reason could you be called a terrorist?
Why cant we live in the USA as good trusting citizens?
You are innocent until they find some home grown terrorist group in you or your friends!
Love this country or pay a price... get out now if you have something to hide!!!