July 20, 2005

Bush vows to safeguard U.S. transit against attack

By Caren Bohan

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - President Bush pledged on Wednesday
to increase protection of U.S. transit systems against an
attack in the aftermath of the London bombings and urged
Congress to renew provisions of a post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism

At least 56 people were killed in the bombings of
underground trains and a bus at the height of morning rush hour
in London on July 7, which coincided with a meeting of leaders
of the world's industrialized countries in Scotland.

"It should be a vivid reminder about the world in which we
live, we will not let down our guard," Bush said during a visit
to a port in Baltimore.

The president's comments on fighting terrorism came on the
same day that the United States warned Americans in Saudi
Arabia to keep a low profile because militants were planning
fresh attacks.

"The best way to protect the homeland is to go on the
offense, is to find these people in foreign lands and bring
them to justice before they come here to hurt us," Bush said.

"We're working with people around the world. We're on the
hunt and we will stay on the hunt," he said.

About a dozen provisions in the USA Patriot Act, which was
enacted in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are set to
expire at the end of this year unless renewed by Congress.

Critics say some of the provisions infringe on civil
liberties and should not be renewed. Bush repeated his call for
lawmakers to renew the provisions of the law, saying they
strengthen U.S. efforts to fight terrorism.

"The Patriot Act closed dangerous gaps in America's law
enforcement and intelligence capabilities, gaps the terrorists
exploited when they attacked us on September the 11th," Bush

Bush said his budget for next year proposes a 64 percent
increase in infrastructure protection grants -- "to safeguard,
subways, light rail, city buses and other critical systems."

He also said there was wider use of explosive detection
teams and a nearly doubling in the number of rail security

Democrats have accused Bush and Republicans of not doing
enough to protect mass-transit systems.

The government has spent nearly $20 billion on aviation
security to avoid a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked
airplane attacks. By comparison, the government has spent $250
million on rail and transit system security since Sept. 11.