President Bush Signs Patriot Act Extension Into Law

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2006  - President Bush put his signature on documents reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act at a White House ceremony here today.

"The Patriot Act has accomplished exactly what it was designed to do," Bush remarked to reporters at the White House before he reauthorized the Patriot Act. "It has helped us detect terror cells, disrupt terrorist plots and save American lives."

Bush signed an extension of the original Patriot Act law established soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

"The bill I sign today extends these vital provisions. It also gives our nation new protections and added defenses," the president said.

Bush said the Patriot Act extension enables U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials to continue to share information used to catch terrorists, drug dealers and other criminals. "Over the past four years, America's law enforcement and intelligence personnel have proved the Patriot Act works," Bush said. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have used the Patriot Act to break up terror cells in Ohio, New York, Oregon and Virginia, he said.

"We've prosecuted terrorist operatives and supporters in California and Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington and North Carolina," said he added.

The reauthorization of the Patriot Act, like the original, "will improve our nation's security while we safeguard the civil liberties of our people," Bush said.

New Patriot Act legislation also creates the position of assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department, the president said. "This will allow the Justice Department to bring together its national security, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and foreign intelligence surveillance operations under a single authority," Bush said. This change will assist authorities to preempt possible future terrorist strikes against the homeland, he said.

Bush said the new Patriot Act bill contains provisions that will assist law enforcement agencies crack down on methamphetamine manufacturers in the United States. Methamphetamine, known as meth, is a highly addictive drug that can be made in basement laboratories using chemical elements found in over-the-counter cold remedies. "The bill introduces common-sense safeguards that would make many of the ingredients used in manufacturing meth harder to obtain in bulk and easier for law enforcement to track," Bush said.

In addition to fighting drug dealers, America also remains at war with global terrorists who will stop at nothing to kill innocent citizens, Bush said. Bush said Americans "saw the terrorists' destructive vision for us when they killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children" during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States.

"We will confront this mortal danger; we will stay on the offensive; and we're not going to wait to be attacked again," Bush vowed.