Bush signs update to surveillance law

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush has signed a bill into law giving security officials more liberty in monitoring overseas communications.

After signing the amendment to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Sunday, Bush said in a statement the measure was needed to close "a dangerous gap in our intelligence-gathering activities."


The controversial amendment nearly died in debate in Congress, but the White House pressured Congress to remain in session through the weekend to pass the measure before beginning its month-long summer recess, CNN reported.

The amendment is only good for six months until it can undergo debate again. In the meantime, it allows the attorney general or the director of national intelligence to approve electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists overseas without seeking a warrant from a secret Washington FISA court.

While opponents claim it infringes on civil liberties, Bush said the amendment was a timely one.

"Over the past three decades, this law has not kept pace with revolutionary changes in technology," Bush said.

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