Bush pleads for reform in US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

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Washington, Sep 20 (UNI) US President Geoge W Bush has urged lawmakers to make permanent reforms, temporarily introduced in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which permit, without a formal warrant, wiretaps on conversations and e-mails between people in the United States and terror suspects abroad.

''Without these tools it will be harder to figure out what our enemies are doing to train, recruit and infiltrate operatives into America. Without these tools, our country will be much more vulnerable to attack," Bush said at a meeting of the National Security Agency, near here.

The US Congress had agreed to a six-month revision of the law in August. Bush wants the Congress to reconsider the issue and adopt a permanent reform bill before the stop-gap measure expires on February 1, 2008.

''At stake in this debate is more than a piece of legislation.

The decisions Congress makes will directly affect the ability to save American lives,''President Bush said.

Several Democratic Congressmen, including lawmaker Jerrold Nadler, criticised the measure saying the law, the administration wanted to extend, gave the government unnecessary licence to eavesdrop on Americans without court supervision.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, defending the proposal, said the authorities were not invading the privacy of individuals but the administration would consider clarifications that did not weaken the law.

UNI

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