- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Bush sees London attacks as reason for Patriot Act
Question of the Day
President Bush yesterday invoked the terrorist attacks in London as a compelling reason for Congress to renew the USA Patriot Act and for local governments to beef up security on mass-transit systems.
“As we saw in London, the terrorists are still active and they are still plotting to take innocent life,” Mr. Bush told law-enforcement officers in Baltimore. “So my message to the Congress is clear: This is no time to let our guard down, and no time to roll back good laws.”
It was the first time the president cited the July 7 London attacks, which killed at least 56 persons in the British capital’s subway and bus systems, to bolster support for renewal of the Patriot Act. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on the measure this week.
“The Patriot Act is expected to expire, but the terrorist threats will not expire,” he said. “I expect, and the American people expect, the United States Congress and the United States Senate to renew the Patriot Act.”
The London attacks also have prompted a re-evaluation of mass-transit security by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
“He took a look at the situation and said, ‘Let’s enhance our security and infrastructure points,’” Mr. Bush said. “We’re widening the use of explosive detection teams and nearly doubling the number of rail security inspectors.”
The president also defended Mr. Chertoff’s assertion to the Associated Press last week that local communities are responsible for protecting transit systems. City officials in San Francisco and Chicago professed shock that the federal government was not assuming that responsibility.
“Those who are going to be responsible for responding to an attack are at the local level,” Mr. Bush said. “I think that makes sense to say to a mayor, ‘If you’ve got a problem with your mass transit, here’s a grant, and if you feel that’s the best use of the money, use it there.’”
Although the federal government has provided $14 billion since September 11 to train and equip local emergency workers to respond to terrorist attacks, city leaders and some members of Congress insist that job should be handled at the federal level.
“Michael Chertoff is a very smart guy, but I couldn’t disagree more,” said New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, demanded that Mr. Chertoff apologize for putting the onus on local communities.
Mr. Chertoff said he does not want to load the nation’s buses and trains with federal police. He emphasized that the federal government is moving to a risk-based management approach to focus limited federal dollars on the biggest targets.
“A fully loaded airplane with jet fuel, a commercial airliner, has the capacity to kill 3,000 people,” Mr. Chertoff said. “A bomb in a subway car may kill 30 people.
“When you start to think about your priorities, you’re going to think about making sure you don’t have a catastrophic thing first.”
The Bush administration views the federal government’s primary role as the source of funding for local officials.
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world