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 Home > News & Policies > July 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 20, 2005

Fact Sheet: Giving Law Enforcement the Tools They Need to Safeguard Our Homeland

Presidential Action:

Today, The President Delivered Remarks At The Port Of Baltimore In Maryland, Calling On Congress To Renew The 16 Provisions Of The Patriot Act Set To Expire And Discussing Efforts To Secure Vital Infrastructure. President Bush called on Congress to act now so that law enforcement has the necessary tools to fight terrorism.

Background: Safeguarding Our Homeland And Giving Law Enforcement The Tools They Need

President Bush Has A Comprehensive Strategy To Defend Our Homeland.

  • The President Is Devoting Unprecedented Resources To Improve Security. The President has more than tripled annual funding for homeland security since September 11, enhancing the capacity of the U.S. to prevent, protect against, and respond to a terrorist attack. Innovative programs have been developed to defend against WMD threats and cyberterrorism, and funding has been increased more than ten-fold for police officers, firefighters, and other first responders.
  • The President Is Committed To Strengthening Defenses At Our Most Vulnerable Locations. Protection has been stepped up at our borders, coastlines, airports, bridges, highways, power plants, water-treatment facilities, and other critical sites. Federal agencies are also continuing to work closely with State and local authorities to secure mass transit systems, including steps to widen the use of explosive detection teams and a near doubling of the number of rail security inspectors. With a proposed 64 percent budget increase for infrastructure-protection grants, President Bush is continuing to boost funding for security measures to protect our Nation's ports and transit systems.
  • The President Is Working To Make Government And Law Enforcement More Unified And Effective. The Department of Homeland Security is in the process of streamlining the operations of its 180,000 employees. Intelligence agencies have been reformed, and a new Director of National Intelligence will help America stay a step ahead of its enemies. The new National Counterterrorism Center is also bringing together personnel from different agencies to work side-by-side, and Federal agencies are actively working to strengthen their partnerships with State and local officials.

To Protect Our Economy And Security, Our Seaports Must Remain Open And Safe.

  • The Container Security Initiative Identifies Dangerous Cargo Before It Reaches Our Shores. Containers bound for the United States are now screened at more than 35 foreign ports. Since September 11, more than $700 million in Federal grants has helped to secure individual ports, including $15 million to help secure the Port of Baltimore.
  • Upgrading Inspection Technology Will Make Cargo Inspections More Efficient And More Effective. Employing advanced screening devices such as an X-ray system that can penetrate steel cargo containers allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors to maximize efficiency and reduce risk when inspecting port cargo and patrolling port waters.
  • President Bush Is Committed To Continuing The Progress of Safeguarding America's Seaports. The President's FY 2006 Budget proposes $2.3 billion in port-security funding, almost ten times the amount before September 11, and an 11 percent increase in the Coast Guard budget over the current year, including funding for more patrol boats in critical locations.

The Patriot Act Should Be Fully Renewed To Stop Terrorists Before They Strike.

  • The Patriot Act Authorized Better Information Sharing Between Law Enforcement And Intelligence Agencies. Before the Patriot Act, criminal investigators were separated from intelligence officers by a legal and bureaucratic wall. The Patriot Act helped tear down this wall - and now law enforcement and intelligence officers are sharing information, working as a team, and breaking up terror networks.
  • The Patriot Act Gives Law Enforcement Agents The Ability To Use Tools Against Terrorists That Are Already Available Against Other Criminals. The Patriot Act permitted law enforcement to use the same tools to investigate terrorists that they already had to investigate drug dealers, tax cheats, and organized crime.
  • The Patriot Act Updates The Law To Meet 21st Century Threats Like Computer Espionage And Cyberterrorism. Terrorists are using every advantage of 21st century technology - and Congress needs to ensure that our law enforcement can as well.
  • The Patriot Act Helps Law Enforcement Fight Terrorism While Safeguarding Civil Liberties For All Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers must seek a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, track his calls, or search his property. These strict standards are fully consistent with the Constitution. Congress also oversees the application of the Patriot Act, and in more than three years there has not been a single verified abuse.
  • The Patriot Act Has Protected American Liberty and Saved American Lives. Law enforcement has used the Patriot Act to break up terror cells and prosecute terrorist operatives and supporters in New York, Oregon, Virginia, Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio.

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