Bush Wants Terrorism Law Updated

July 28th, 2007 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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President Bush on Saturday pushed Congress to modernize a law that governs how the U.S. intelligence community monitors the communications of suspected terrorists.

“This law is badly out of date,” Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—also known as FISA—provides a legal foundation that allows the U.S. intelligence community to collect information about terrorists’ communications without violating the civil liberties of Americans.

Bush said terrorists now use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate, recruit operatives and plan attacks—tools that weren’t available when FISA passed nearly 30 years ago. He underscored this call for modernizing the law by citing a recently released intelligence estimate that concluded that al-Qaida is using its growing strength in the Middle East to plot attacks on U.S. soil.

“Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country,” Bush said. “Congress needs to act immediately to pass this bill, so that our national security professionals can close intelligence gaps and provide critical warning time for our country.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 set up a court that meets in secret to review applications from the FBI, the National Security Agency and other agencies for warrants to wiretap or search the homes of people in the United States in terrorist or espionage cases.

Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush authorized the NSA to spy on calls between people in the U.S. and suspected terrorists abroad without FISA court warrants. The administration said it needed to act more quickly than the court could. It also said the president had inherent authority under the Constitution to order warrantless domestic spying.

After the program became public and was challenged in court, Bush put it under FISA court supervision this year.

In recent testimony on Capitol Hill, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell portrayed legislation supported by the administration as merely an adjustment to technological changes wrought by cell phones, e-mail and the Internet. He said that under current rules, the U.S. intelligence community is missing a significant portion of information it should be getting.

But Democrats say they don’t want to rush to change the law, especially because civil liberties are at stake, and want to make sure any changes do not give the executive branch unfettered surveillance powers.

“To date, our review has uncovered numerous inefficiencies in the current FISA system,” Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement earlier in the week. “It is not yet clear whether changes to the statute are necessary, but if they are required and justified, we will address them.”

(AP)


3 Responses

  1. mdetlh

    The commander in chief needs to pass a law now and Mr Reyes, we’re good to go for now? WTF Mr Reyes is not exactly the brightest bulb in Democratic Congress, so whoo
    would dare listen to the commander in chief from this Congress? Are these people cynical enough to say that its the President’s fault if we get attacked again, when they don’t update this law?

    The depths of cynicism with these Democrats is deep and is getting deeper, no more surprises from these Dhim hungry people.

  2. Dan (The Infidel)

    Congress isn’t worried about civil liberties. They are worried about 2008. Bush bad Dhims good. They pander to the left and fiddle while Rome burns.

    Maybe we the people should pass the same sentence that Nero received and hope that when we come to get them to pass said sentence, they much like Nero, slit their own throats.

  3. terry smyth

    The demorats have the BDS in a big way.
    Bushitler is going to suppress out rights
    Bushitler is gonna spy on us
    Bushitler is gonna listen in on our private calls
    Did I now see somewhere on the web that bushitler was going to dissolve congress and assume complete control and become president for life? gotta be true. What else could the fantasy merchants on the left think up.Jees, they had cheney going to press the button when bushitler was having his polyps checked out.
    Seems cheney was about to have his pacemaker recharged. Cant see any toothgrinding rightwing redneck, truck drivin,beer drinkin,shooting,yahooing VP doing that can you?
    Not that even makes the left falter one step, its all about 2008.17 bloody months away. I ask you. How long can the paranoia last. Let them keep this up and the last 6 months of the election circus will be circa 1950’s with polite “i like ike” stuff.They will have all collapsed rigid with hatred and be having seizures and be catatonic in the gutter where they all belong.
    It seems that rational discussion has been swept under the rug.\
    Aussie comment:
    The MSM here is forcasting John Howard being beaten in the next election by a female TV presenter.
    Im laying bets. Our most courageous PM being downed by a left wing TV presenter?

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