December 30, 2005

Bush signs 5-week extension of anti-terrorism law

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on
Friday signed legislation extending key provisions of the
anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act until February 3, despite
earlier objecting to anything short of a permanent renewal.

Bush had strongly pushed for a permanent renewal before the
provisions expired at year-end, but Congress passed a temporary
extension to allow more time to consider civil liberties

The Patriot Act expanded the authority of the federal
government to conduct secret searches, obtain private records,
intercept telephone calls, among other activities, to hunt for
suspected terrorists.

"He's going to work hard with the Congress to make sure
that we get that important law renewed," White House spokesman
Trent Duffy said.

"Our law enforcement community needs this, he's not
satisfied with a one-month extension. But we've got to get that
in place, and we've got to work with them to get it permanently
re-extended," he said.

The debate over whether some of the provisions infringe too
much on civil liberties became more heated after the revelation
that Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop
on communications by Americans with suspected ties to
terrorists without seeking a court order.