The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 15, 2007

Statement by the Press Secretary

This evening House Democrats passed legislation that would dangerously weaken our ability to protect the Nation from foreign threats. A mere three months ago reasonable Democrats joined with their Republican colleagues to craft a bill that responsibly provides our intelligence professionals the tools they need to protect our Nation and close a dangerous gap in our intelligence. We are disappointed that this kind of bipartisan cooperation was so quickly abandoned. Instead, the House Democrat's bill to reauthorize the Protect America Act (PAA) fails to give our intelligence community the tools it needs, and it fails to protect companies facing massive lawsuits for allegedly stepping up and answering the Nation's call for help after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If this bill is presented to the President in its current form, the Director of National Intelligence and the President's other senior advisers will recommend that he veto it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also considered legislation to reauthorize the PAA. Not only would this bill reverse the substantial work of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to provide the tools our intelligence community needs, it ignores the issue of liability protection. This bill would also result in a veto recommendation.

The bill reported by the Senate Intelligence Committee with strong bipartisan support, while not perfect, would provide our intelligence community the essential authorities they need, and it includes retroactive liability protection. This serious, consensus bill would establish a solid, long-term foundation for our intelligence community's efforts to target terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets located overseas. It should serve as the basis for congressional legislation that the President could support.

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