Oct. 26, 2001: President Bush Signs PATRIOT Act

Bush signs anti-terrorism act giving the govt. greater surveillance powers.
6:59 | 10/26/11

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Transcript for Oct. 26, 2001: President Bush Signs PATRIOT Act
The changes effective today. Help counter threat. Like no other our nation has ever faced. We've seen the enemy. In the murder of thousands of innocent unsuspecting people. They recognize no barrier morality. They have no conscience. The terrorists cannot be reasoned -- Witness the recent anthrax attacks. -- our Postal Service. Our country is grateful. For the courage the Postal Service has shown during these difficult times. We mourn the loss of the lives -- Thomas Morris and Joseph Percy. Postal workers who died in the line of duty. And our prayers go to their loved ones. I want to assure postal workers at our government is testing more than 200 postal facilities. Along the entire eastern Corvel. It may have been impacted. And we will move quickly to treat and protect workers were positive exposures. -- -- The one thing is for certain. These terrorists must be pursued. They must be defeated. Must be brought to justice. And that is the purpose of this legislation. Since the eleventh of September the men and women of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Have been relentless. In their response. To new and sudden challenges. We have seen the horrors terrorists can inflict. We may never know what ours our country was spared by the diligent -- determined work of our police forces. The FB IA TF agents. Federal marshals custom officer Secret Service intelligence professionals and local law enforcement officials. The most trying conditions. They are serving this country with excellence. And often with bravery. They deserve our full support. And every means of help that we can provide. We're dealing with terrorists who operate by highly sophisticated methods. And technologies. Some of which were not even available when our existing laws were written. The bill before me takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists. It will help law enforcement to identify. To dismantle. To disrupt. And to punish terrorists before they strike. For example this legislation -- law enforcement officials better tools. To put an end to financial counterfeiting smuggling -- -- -- money laundering. Secondly it provides gives intelligence operations in criminal investigations. The chance to operate not on separate -- tracks. But to share vital information so necessary to disrupt -- terrorist attack before the colors. As of today we're changing the laws. Governing information sharing. And as importantly. We're changing the culture over various agencies. That fight terrorist. Countering and investigating terrorist activity is the number one priority. For both law enforcement. And intelligence agencies. Surveillance of communications is another essential tool to pursue and stop terrorists. Existing law was written in the era of rotary telephones. This new law that I sign today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists. -- emails the Internet and cell phones. As of today will be able to better meet. The technological challenges posed by this proliferation. Of communications technology. Investigations are often slowed. By any limit on the reach of federal search warrants. Law enforcement agencies have to get a new warrant. For each new district they investigate. Even when their after the same suspect. Under this new law warrants are valid across all districts. And across all states. And finally the new legislation greatly enhances the penalties. That will fall on terrorists or anyone who helps them. Current statutes deal more severely with drug tractors. -- with terrorists. That changes today. We are enacting new and harsh penalties for possession of biological weapons. We're making it easier to seize the assets of groups and individuals involved in terrorism. The government will have wider latitude in deporting known terrorists. And their supporters. The statue of limitations. On terrorist acts will be lengthened. As will prison sentences. For terrorists. This bill was carefully drafted. And considered. Led by the members of congress on this stage in those seated in the audience. It was crafted with skill. And care. Determination. And spirit of bipartisanship for which the entire nation is grateful. This bill met with overwhelming. Overwhelming agreement in congress. Because it upholds and respects the civil liberties guaranteed by our constitution. This legislation is essential not only to pursuing and punishing terrorists. But also preventing more atrocities. The hands of the evil ones. This government will enforce this law. But all the urgency. Of a nation at war. The elected branches of our government. And both political parties. Are united in our resolve. To find and stop and punish. Those who would do harm to the American people. It is now my honor to sign into law of the USA Patriot Act. Of 2001.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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