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• Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. Another counterterrorism effort begun by Mr. Bush, this measure was designed to stop funding of al Qaeda and other militant groups and to locate terrorists. The U.S. Treasury and the CIA tap into databases for global financial transactions.

Stuart A. Levey, the first undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, was instrumental in setting up the surveillance. He was kept on in that post by the Obama administration for two years.

• Patriot Act. The law, signed by Mr. Bush a month after 9/11, gave the federal government wide authority to penetrate and stop terror plots in this country via surveillance and communications intercepts.

President Obama signed a four-year Patriot Act extension in May 2011.

• Military commissions. At the U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Bush set up a prison and war crimes tribunals for terror suspects and enemy combatants.

After starts and stops in the courts and redrafting of authorizing legislation by Congress, the commissions now have legal backing.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama railed against the prison and the commission system, implying they were outside the Constitution.

Mr. Obama said: “And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.’ “

But this month, hearings that will lead to trials for self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four of his associates began at Guantanamo.

The Obama administration has opted to try the suspects there after failing to get the proceedings moved to the civilian court system in New York City in the wake of vociferous local opposition.

Mr. Crowley notes that although the Obama administration has returned to the commission system, it has made significant changes. Evidence gleaned through what the Bush administration called enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, will not be allowed at trial.

“The military commission that opened weeks ago is very different than the one that opened years ago,” he said.

• Detention. Mr Bush decided early on that terror suspects could be held indefinitely as enemy combatants under a broad Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution enacted by Congress in 2001.

The Obama administration, like the Bush team, has cited that law to justify indefinitely holding Guantanamo detainees and those in prisons in Afghanistan.

Harold Koh, Mrs. Clinton’s top legal adviser, said in a March speech: “As a nation at war, we must comply with the laws of war, but detention of enemy belligerents to prevent them from returning to hostilities is a well-recognized feature of the conduct of armed conflict.”

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