Bush urges Congress to pass bill modernizing FISA before recess

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush [official profile] asked urged Congress Friday to pass legislation [statement; fact sheet] "modernizing" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text; JURIST news archive], calling on members of Congress to postpone their scheduled August recess until the legislation is submitted to the White House for Bush's signature. Bush also threatened to veto any legislation Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell [official profile] thinks does not give the intelligence community what it "needs to prevent an attack on the country." Also Friday, officials indicated that the White House would agree to judicial scrutiny of foreign intelligence activities in exchange for greater government surveillance powers over foreign communications.

Bush stressed the need for modernizing FISA [JURIST report] in his weekly radio address last weekend, saying that the new legislation is necessary to meet threats from terrorists who can now use cell phones and the Internet to communicate. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Democrats are willing to expand government surveillance [JURIST report] over foreign communications under the FISA, but that disagreements with the White House over other issues remained. AP has more.

Breaking News: House Democrats said Friday that talks about expanding FISA have broken down, but White House officials say negotiations are ongoing. AP has more.

 

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