Bush Signs Patriot Act Extension, Military Bill
President Bush signed legislation Friday extending key provisions of the Patriot Act until Feb. 3, despite earlier objecting to anything short of permanent renewal.
He also signed a $453.3-billion military spending bill that included a measure banning cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the White House said.
Bush had threatened to veto legislation that contained that provision but backed off after congressional votes showed overwhelming support for the amendment pushed by Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was a former prisoner of war in the Vietnam conflict.
On the Patriot Act, Bush had pressed for a permanent renewal, but Congress passed a temporary extension to allow more time to consider protections of civil liberties.
The Patriot Act was a response to the Sept. 11 attacks and expanded the authority of the federal government to conduct secret searches, obtain private records and intercept telephone calls, among other activities, to hunt for terrorists.
“Our law enforcement community needs this; he’s not satisfied with a one-month extension,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. “But we’ve got to get that in place, and we’ve got to work with them to get it permanently re-extended.”