Remarks by President Bush in a Conversation on the USA Patriot Act

Apr 20, 2004, 01:00 ET from White House Press Office

    WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The following are remarks by
 President Bush in a conversation on the USA Patriot Act:
     Kleinshans Music Hall
     Buffalo, New York
     9:49 A.M. EDT
     THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming. I think you're going to find this to be
 a really interesting discussion about how federal, state and local authorities
 are working hard to prevent a terrorist attack. That's what we're here to talk
 about -- and why it's important for those of us in positions of authority to
 give federal, state and local authorities all the tools necessary to do the
 job we expect of them. That's what we're here to talk about. But I've got some
 things I want to say before we start talking about it.
     First, I am glad to be at the home of the mighty Buffalo Bills.
 (Applause.) I traveled today with Congressman Quinn and Congressman Reynolds,
 two fine members of the United States Congress from this area, who assured me
 this is the year. (Laughter.) I want to thank Jack and Tom for coming today.
 Thank you for your strong leadership. Thanks for caring a lot about the people
 of the Buffalo, New York area. Thanks for your steadfast concern about the
 security of our country. I appreciate your service.
     I also appreciate the service of the really fine Governor of the state of
 New York, George Pataki. Thanks for coming. (Applause.) I know we've got state
 and local authorities who are here. I appreciate your service. For the local
 authorities, my only advice is make sure you fill the potholes. (Laughter.)
 Empty the garbage. (Laughter.) Answer the phone calls.
     But thanks for coming today. This message today is aimed as much at you as
 it is anybody else. Today, we have got an interesting -- a lot of families
 with us, but one that struck me as worthy of note, and that's the Conroy
 family. Where's Peggy Conroy? Somewhere. There she is. Good. Hi, Peggy.
     The reason I brought up Peggy is I want you to know that Peggy's husband
 is a Staff Sergeant in the National Guard, the 105th Military Police Unit in
 Karbala, Iraq. She represents many of the families of this area and the
 country who are sacrificing to see to it that the world is more free and more
     I appreciate so very much your steadfast love for your husband. You honor
 us with your presence today, and I'm really glad you brought Billy and Jeff
 and Tyler. Billy and Jeff really represent the greatest spirit of our country.
 Not only do they love their dad, and pray for their dad, but they're
 collecting school supplies for the Iraqi children. In other words, they're
 going to their own schoolmates and saying, how best can we not only help
 secure Iraq, so it can become a free country, how best can we show the
 compassion of America. And I want to thank you guys for honoring your dad and
 honoring our country. (Applause.)
     I also met a fellow named Frank Brusino. Where are you, Frank? There he
 is. Frank is an interesting character. (Laughter.) He is a retired brigadier
 general in the Army Reserves, a paratrooper, who is now very much involved
 with the Senior Corps, the Citizen Corps Council. In other words, their job is
 to help provide law enforcement with additional volunteers so law enforcement
 can better do its job. For the first responders who are here, I think you know
 the valuable addition that Citizen Corps Councils have made, so you can do
 your work better.
     The reason I bring up Frank is, a lot of times they talk about the
 strength of America as being in our military. That's part of our strength and
 we're going to keep the military strong, by the way, so the world will be more
 peaceful. (Applause.) They talk about the strength of our country being the
 fact that we're a prosperous nation, and we need to make sure we continue to
 expand prosperity so people can find work. But the true strength of the
 country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens. See, Frank represents
 the strength of America because he volunteers to make the community in which
 he lives a better place. He sets such a great example for other citizens in
 this area. That's why I wanted to herald Frank's accomplishments. He is a
 soldier in the army of compassion. He takes time out of his life to see what
 he can do to make the Buffalo area more secure.
     My call to people in this area is see what you can do to make Buffalo a
 more compassionate, decent place. See, societies change one conscience, one
 soul a time. All it takes is for citizens to hear that universal call to love
 a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself, and mentor a child, or
 feed the hungry, or provide shelter for the homeless, or love the lonely. And
 by doing so, you serve our nation, and you really show the world the true
 compassion of a great nation.
     Thank you for your service, sir. I'm proud that you're here. Thanks for
 coming. (Applause.)
     September the 11th was a horrible day for our nation, and we must never
 forget the lessons of September the 11th. I appreciate so very much the
 Governor's steadfast determination and compassion during those difficult times
 for the citizens of New York City and New York state and New Jersey and
 Connecticut. It's a time that really changed our perspective about the world.
 See, we never really thought America would be a battlefield. We thought oceans
 would protect us. That was kind of the conventional wisdom of the time. And
 therefore, our defenses were aligned that way, our offenses were aligned that
     As Larry mentioned, there were threats, but most of those threats were
 overseas, and they attacked us overseas. But never did we dream that they
 would use our own airplanes as weapons to fly, and mercilessly kill thousands
 of our citizens. From that day forward, we have changed our attitude, and
 we've got to make sure the laws reflect the realities of the generation -- of
 the new generation, of the generation of those of us involved with being
 responsible for the security of the country.
     See, we're now facing the first war of the 21st century. It's a different
 kind of war. Frank was a paratrooper. In those days you could measure the
 enemy by the number of battalions and number of tanks and number of airplanes.
 Now the enemy hides in caves. They lurch (sio) in the shadows of the world.
 They will strike and kill innocent citizens without any conscience, because
 they have no conscience.
     So the fundamental charge before us all in positions of responsibility is,
 how do we deal with the threat? The first thing we do is we stay on the
 offense. The first thing we do is we find killers before they kill us. We
 rally the world, which have done and will continue to do, to cut off money, to
 share intelligence, to put brave troops and security personnel after these
 people, to find them, to rout them out. The message should be clear to them,
 there is no cave or hole deep enough to hide from the justice of the United
 States of America and our coalition partners. It's essential -- (applause.)
     September the 11th -- when the President says something, he better mean
 it. See, in order to make the world more peaceful, it's essential that those
 of us in positions of high responsibility speak clearly and mean what we say.
 And so when I say that if you harbor a terrorist you're just as guilty as a
 terrorist, I meant it. And we acted upon that, in order to make the world more
 peaceful and more secure. The Taliban found out what we meant. Remember, those
 were the leaders in Afghanistan that provided safe haven and training camps
 for al Qaeda. And fortunately, thanks to our coalition, thanks to brave
 soldiers from America, and others, the Taliban no longer is in power. We
 enforced the doctrine. The world is more peaceful because the Taliban is gone.
 And at the same time, please remember, the women and children in Afghanistan
 have a much brighter future because we removed a barbaric regime that refused
 to even educate young girls.
     When the President speaks, he better mean it. And when I went in front of
 the United Nations Security Council, in the fall of 2002, I said, listen, we
 all have seen a threat. One of the lessons of September the 11th, was when you
 see a threat overseas, you must act before it materializes. September the 11th
 said, we can't wait and hope on the good intentions of terrorists who will
 kill innocent men and women. We've got to act. We can't hope for the best
 anymore. The United States must use our prestige and influence and diplomatic
 power and military power to protect us and others who love freedom.
     I went in front of the United Nations Security Council, having looked at
 intelligence that said Saddam Hussein was a threat. The Congress looked at the
 same intelligence, by the way, and concluded Saddam was a threat. The United
 Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence and said Saddam was a
 threat. No wonder we thought he was a threat; after all, he had used weapons
 of mass destruction on his own people. Not only the intelligence lead us to
 believe that, but his actions led us to believe it. He paid for suiciders; he
 harbored terrorists; he was paying for terrorists to kill.
     And so we saw a threat. September the 11th changed the equation. So I was
 given a choice: Either trust the word of a madman, hope for the best with
 somebody who was a tyrant, or take action to defend our country. Given that
 choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
     It's hard work to go from a system where there was torture and rape rooms
 and mass graves to freedom. That's hard work. But it is necessary work. That's
 why I want to herald the work and sacrifice of your husband. It's important
 work for our future. Free societies are peaceful societies. The way to defeat
 terror in the long run is to provide hope, to provide hope for families, to
 provide hope for children, to say that there's a bright future for you. That
 won't happen, so long as there's tyranny in a part of the world that tends to
 breed hatred. It will happen when societies become democratic and free.
     And so what we're doing right now is we're defeating the enemy there so we
 won't have to fight them here. But, as well, we're working for freedom in the
 heart of a part of the world that needs freedom. You know, I can't tell you
 how strongly I believe that -- about the power of freedom. After all, it's
 been a part of our national soul. We have proven how powerful freedom can be.
 We bring people from diverse backgrounds together under the mantel of a free
 society. We're such a beacon.
     I believe freedom is not America's gift to the world; I believe freedom is
 the almighty God's gift to each man and women in this world. And therefore, as
 we work to not only make the homeland more secure, we work to spread freedom,
 which will make the world more peaceful. The enemy can't stand the thought of
 free societies. That's why they attacked us, see. And we're not going to
 change. That's what they don't understand. There's nothing they can do to
 intimidate, to make us change our deepest belief.
     They're trying to kill to shake our will; we're too tough, too strong, too
 resolute, and too determined to ever have our will shaken by thugs and
 terrorists. (Applause.)
     We live in historic times. We face a different kind of war. And one of the
 key victories in this battle against terror is going to be the spread of
 freedom throughout the greater Middle East. And we'll succeed. We'll succeed
 because, deep in the heart of every human being is the deep desire to be free.
     At home, we've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of work to do.
 We're a freedom nation, we're a big nation, people come and go. And we needed
 to change the whole attitude about how we protect the homeland. We'll do
 everything we can to stay on the offensive. But just remember, we've got to be
 right 100 percent of the time; and the enemy has only got to be right once.
 And so we've got a tough job.
     It means we've got to coordinate between the federal government and the
 state government and the local government like never before. We've got to
 share information on a real-time basis, so first responders and police chiefs
 can move as quickly as possible. We're going to talk about that communication
     We created the Department of Homeland Security which would allow us to
 better coordinate between agencies. It's kind of -- what happens in
 bureaucracies is you get what they call stovepipes -- in other words, people
 don't talk to each other, they kind of stay in their own lane, and they don't
 share information across the lanes, and therefore, vital information may show
 up, but it's not widely disseminated so there's not real-time action on, say,
 a threat.
     Part of the problem we face was that there was laws and bureaucratic mind-
 sets that prevented the sharing of information. And so, besides setting up the
 Homeland Security Department and beefing up our air travel security, and
 making sure that we now fingerprint at the borders and take those
 fingerprints, by the way, and compare to a master log of fingerprints of
 terrorists and known criminals, to make sure people coming into our country
 are the right people coming into our country. I mean, we do a lot of things.
 But we change law, as well, to allow the FBI and -- to be able to share
 information within the FBI.
     Incredibly enough, because of -- which Larry and others will discuss --
 see, I'm not a lawyer, so it's kind of hard for me to kind of get bogged down
 in the law. (Applause.) I'm not going to play like one, either. (Laughter.)
 The way I viewed it, if I can just put it in simple terms, is that one part of
 the FBI couldn't tell the other part of the FBI vital information because of
 law. And the CIA and the FBI couldn't talk. Now, these are people charged with
 gathering information about threats to the country; yet they couldn't share
 the information. And right after September the 11th, the Congress wisely
 acted, said, this doesn't make any sense. If we can't get people talking, how
 can we act? We're charged with the security of the country, first responders
 are charged with the security of the country, and if we can't share
 information between vital agencies, we're not going to be able to do our job.
 And they acted.
     So the first thing I want you to think about is, when you hear Patriot
 Act, is that we changed the law and the bureaucratic mind-set to allow for the
 sharing of information. It's vital. And others will describe what that means.
 `Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time
 you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a
 wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're
 talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court
 order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand,
 when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it
 comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the
     But a roving wiretap means -- it was primarily used for drug lords. A guy,
 a pretty intelligence drug lord would have a phone, and in old days they could
 just get a tap on that phone. So guess what he'd do? He'd get him another
 phone, particularly with the advent of the cell phones. And so he'd start
 changing cell phones, which made it hard for our DEA types to listen, to run
 down these guys polluting our streets. And that changed, the law changed on --
 roving wiretaps were available for chasing down drug lords. They weren't
 available for chasing down terrorists, see? And that didn't make any sense in
 the post-9/11 era. If we couldn't use a tool that we're using against mobsters
 on terrorists, something needed to happen.
     The Patriot Act changed that. So with court order, law enforcement
 officials can now use what's called roving wiretaps, which will prevent a
 terrorist from switching cell phones in order to get a message out to one of
 his buddies.
     Thirdly, to give you an example of what we're talking about, there's
 something called delayed notification warrants. Those are very important. I
 see some people, first responders nodding their heads about what they mean.
 These are a common tool used to catch mobsters. In other words, it allows
 people to collect data before everybody is aware of what's going on. It
 requires a court order. It requires protection under the law. We couldn't use
 these against terrorists, but we could use against gangs.
     We had real problems chasing paper -- following paper trails of people.
 The law was just such that we could run down a problem for a crooked
 businessman; we couldn't use the same tools necessary to chase down a
 terrorist. That doesn't make any sense. And sometimes the use of paper trails
 and paper will lead local first responders and local officials to a potential
 terrorist. We're going to have every tool, is what I'm telling you, available
 for our people who I expect to do their job, and you expect to do their jobs.
     We had tough penalties for drug traffickers; we didn't have as tough a
 penalty for terrorists. That didn't make any sense. The true threat to the
 21st century is the fact somebody is trying to come back into our country and
 hurt us. And we ought to be able to at least send a signal through law that
 says we're going to treat you equally as tough as we do mobsters and drug
     There's other things we need to do. We need administrative subpoenas in
 the law. This was not a part of the recent Patriot Act. By the way, the reason
 I bring up the Patriot Act, it's set to expire next year. I'm starting a
 campaign to make it clear to members of Congress it shouldn't expire. It
 shouldn't expire, for the security of our country. (Applause.)
     Administrative subpoenas mean it is -- speeds up the process whereby
 people can gain information to go after terrorists. Administrative subpoenas I
 guess is kind of an ominous sounding word, but it is, to put everybody's mind
 at ease about administrative subpoenas -- we use them to catch crooked doctors
 today. It's a tool for people to chase down medical fraud. And it certainly
 makes sense to me that if we're using it as a tool to chase medical fraud
 cases, we certainly ought to use it as a tool to chase potential terrorists.
     I'll tell you another interesting part of the law that needs to be
 changed. Judges need greater authority to deny bail to terrorists. Judges have
 that authority in many cases like -- again, I keep citing drug offenses, but
 the Congress got tough on drug offenders a while ago and gave judges leeway to
 deny bail. They don't have that same authority to deny bail to terrorists now.
 I've got to tell you, it doesn't make any sense to me that it is very
 conceivable that we haul in somebody who is dangerous to America and then they
 are able to spring bail and out they go.
     It's hard to assure the American people that we've given tools to law
 enforcement that they need if somebody has gone through all the work to chase
 down a potential terrorist, and they haul them in front of a court and they
 pay bail, and it adios. It just doesn't make any sense.
     The Patriot Act needs to be renewed and the Patriot Act needs to be
 enhanced. That's what we're talking about. And it's better for others to
 explain to you how this Patriot Act works. After all, they're charged with
 protecting our citizens. They're on the front line. You see, I try to pick the
 best I can at the federal government and say, here's our mission -- our
 mission is to protect our country. I say that to the Defense Department -- our
 mission is to protect the country. I say it to the Justice Department, and to
 the FBI. After 9/11, I said to the Justice Department and the FBI, your job,
 your primary focus now is to prevent attack. Listen, I still want you chasing
 down the criminals; that's what's expected of you. But there's a new mind-set,
 and that is, because of what happened on 9/11, we've got to change the way we
 think, and therefore, your job now is to prevent attack.
     And one of the first persons I told that to was Thompson. See, when they
 say, Deputy Attorney General, it means he's the number two guy at the Justice
 Department. He's the chief -- he was the chief operating officer of the
 Justice Department. He was there when he heard the command given that we're at
 war; I want everybody at home doing everything we can to protect us, and
 you're job now is to prevent, do what you can do.
     And so -- Larry, we miss you over there, and don't get too comfortable.
 (Applause.) He's living in Atlanta. He's living in Atlanta, Georgia. Actually,
 when he left he said, you know, I've got some kids to raise. I love that
 spirit, by the way. I love the fact that a dad puts his family first. And
 that's a vital part of life, isn't it? And so, he did a heck of a good job.
 He's also doing a very good job as his most important responsibility, which is
 to be a loving dad.
     But I appreciate you coming up.  Why don't you just say what you want to
 say -- now that you're no longer in government.  (Laughter.)
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT: Let me stop you right there. I hope the average citizen
 sees the dilemma. You've got people working on the criminal case, moving
 along, and they say, we've got a problem with these guys. And all of a sudden,
 the other side of the building says, they may be involved with a plot related
 to terrorism. And yet, they can't talk?
     Go ahead.  (Laughter and applause.)  They could talk about Buffalo
 Bills football, but they couldn't talk about securing the homeland.
     MR. BATTLE:  I couldn't have said it better myself.  (Laughter.)
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me ask you something, Mike.  First of all,
     MR. BATTLE:  Thank you.
     THE PRESIDENT:  We put you in there because we want you to get them and
 lock them up if they're harmful to America. (Laughter.) But let me ask you
 something; talk about the -- (Applause.) You did a good job. We're about to go
 to Pete Ahearn, of the FBI, but I wanted to ask you a question on the bail
 proceedings. Do you have any thoughts -- it's kind of a leading question, of
 course -- (laughter.) I'm not even a lawyer. Anyway -- (laughter.) Tell me
 about the bail proceedings with those that you arrested.
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT:  I appreciate you, Mike.  Good job.
     MR. BATTLE:  Thank you, Mr. President.
     THE PRESIDENT: Pete Hearn is with us, with the FBI. Pete, why don't you
 share with us what -- what it was like not to talk somebody? No. (Laughter.)
     Let me -- let me say something about the FBI. Pete's boss is Bob Mueller.
 He's now the Director of the FBI. Mueller is doing a fabulous job. He is a --
 he comes to my office nearly every morning. He sits down and brings me up to
 date on what the FBI is doing. What's really interesting is to follow some of
 the cases -- we followed this case -- to see how hard our agents are working,
 how close the coordination is. And I really want to thank you for being on the
 front line of doing really incredibly important work to protect the American
                                   * * * * *
     AGENT AHEARN: First off, Mr. President, people have to realize -- and it's
 not just with the FBI or our Joint Terrorism Task Force, but so many in this
 room have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of this country. The
 Patriot Act is a law; the Patriot Act has the judicial oversight. The rules
 are there; we follow the rules. The last time I checked, the terrorists don't
 have the rules that we have and don't have to play by them.
     So when you're dealing with a situation like this, and you have all the
 pieces of the puzzle and parts of the puzzle in one room, parts in another --
 we were at the time probably one of the first FBI offices applying the new
 Patriot Act during the outset of this investigation.
     The other issue, the information that we received -- and it wasn't just
 issues with the six individuals in Lackawanna, it was the information we were
 able to glean that we were able to pass to our counterparts, for example, in
 the CIA. It's just not -- it did not just deal with here. It was incumbent on
 us to take that information and everything we had -- not just maybe some phone
 numbers that we got from the criminal side of the case, or phone numbers that
 we got from the intelligence side of the case.
     Even after the Lackawanna case, the Patriot Act provisions helped us. We
 were able to share the intelligence from the -- intelligence from the grand
 jury, the information that we had there, and pass it to the intel community
 that led to many other things that were part of this investigation that were
 overseas. So it was not just the cell right here --
     THE PRESIDENT: Right. Some of the people in the cell here actually were
 traveling overseas, as I recall. We got a couple of them overseas, isn't that
     AGENT AHEARN:  Yes, sir.  Yes, we did.
     THE PRESIDENT:  Maybe I'm not supposed to say that.  (Laughter and
     AGENT AHEARN:  As far as I'm concerned, Mr. President --
     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Attorney.  (Laughter.)  It's good I didn't
 break any rules.  (Laughter.)
     The point is, is that -- what he's telling you is, is that we needed to
 share this information throughout our government, which we couldn't do before.
 And it just doesn't make any sense. We got people working hard overseas that
 are collecting information to better help us protect ourselves. And what 9/11
 was, is that -- said -- is that a threat overseas now must be taken seriously
 here at home. It's one thing to protect our embassies, and we work hard to do
 so. But now a threat overseas could end up being a threat to the homeland. And
 in order to protect the homeland, these good people have got to be able to
 share information.
     Those who criticize the Patriot Act must listen to those folks on the
 front line of defending America. The Patriot Act defends our liberty, is what
 it does, under the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.)
     AGENT AHEARN: Prior to the Patriot Act, it is true, and no pun intended,
 but we were fighting with one arm tied behind our back. It was clear.
     THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, it looks like you still are.  (Laughter.)
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT:  Joint Terrorism Task Force -- you might tell the folks
 what that means.
     AGENT AHEARN: Well, clearly, the JTTF is an acronym, obviously, for the
 Joint Terrorism Task Force. Prior to 9/11 there were about 28 of them in the
 United States. We, here in Buffalo, had already established and put the
 paperwork in for one prior to 9/11. It was the first one approved. And it
 brings to the table more resources that I can, as the FBI Director here - to
 put into the battle in the war on terrorism.
     THE PRESIDENT:  And who sits around the table -- Joint Terrorism Task
 Force?  FBI agents, U.S. attorneys, local?
     AGENT AHEARN:  I'm sure you're going to hear more about that with the
 gentlemen here, but they all sit around and --
     THE PRESIDENT:  That's what I'm leading into.
     AGENT AHEARN:  No, it was a good segue.  (Laughter.)  There are no
 secrets.  I mean, everybody that is cleared and is part of the investigation,
 they see it all.
     THE PRESIDENT: Right. This is a good segue, as we say, to federal, state
 and local cooperation. It is -- in order for us to do our jobs, we've got to
 make sure that the federal government shares information with the state
 government, and vice versa, and that the state and federal government share
 information with the local government, vice versa. So that everybody is
 knitted up, as we say. And that wasn't the case before September the 11th in a
 lot of communities.
     One of the knitter-uppers is Jim McMahon, who was appointed by the
 Governor.  I appreciate your service.  Let her go.
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT: What dawned on me when Jim was talking is that we do the
 same thing, by the way, for federal emergency response. We've done a better
 job of coordinating FEMA, for example, which is -- means Federal Emergency
 Management Association. But it's now part of the Homeland Security Department.
 And we better coordinate with state and local authorities. So not only are we
 doing -- coordinating activities when it comes to fighting terrorists, but
 we're doing so when it comes to responding to emergencies, as well.
     I appreciate the first responders who are here. I know New York has got
 fantastic first responders. Obviously, those who rushed into burning towers
 set the highest of high standards for courage and bravery, and really serve as
 great inspiration for others who wear the uniform, as well as those of us who
 appreciate those who wear the uniform.
     Speaking about wearing a uniform, one man wore one today, and that would
 be Chief Moslow. Thank you for coming, sir. We're honored you're here.
                                   * * * * *
     THE PRESIDENT:  See, Thompson whispered, he said, "We've only got 13,000
 FBI agents."  That is -- when you think about it -- across the country, that's
 not a lot of FBI agents, is it?  So, therefore, there needs to be cooperation.
     I appreciate you, Chief. You represent those on the front lines, what we
 call the first responders. The federal government is spending some money to
 help. The key is to make sure we get it to you so it doesn't get stuck in
 different bureaucracies, which is one of the challenges those of us in
 government face, which is not getting stuck in bureaucracies. But I want to
 thank you, and I want to thank the men and women from this area who are on the
 front lines, for doing everything in your power to uphold the oath to which
 you swore when you became a uniformed officer. (Applause.)
     Here's what I think: I think that the world is going to be more peaceful
 and free. I think America is now more secure; and we're working to make it
 even more secure. There is no doubt in my mind that this country can not (sic)
 achieve any objective we put our mind to. It's essential we remain steadfast
 and strong, and courageous and determined. History has called us to this
 moment of time. And history has called the right nation to lead. And the
 reason I can say that with certainty is because I understand the character and
 the courage of the American people.
     It's an honor to have been here today. I hope, as a result of this
 discussion, our fellow citizens have a better understanding of the importance
 of the Patriot Act and why it needs to be renewed and expanded -- the
 importance of the Patriot Act, when it comes to defending America, our
 liberties, and at the same time, that it still protects our liberties under
 the Constitution. But more importantly, I hope our fellow citizens recognize
 that there are hundreds of their fellow citizens working on a daily basis to
 do their duty to make this country as secure as possible. And for your work I
 say thank you, and may God continue to bless you. Thank you for coming.
     END              10:33 A.M. EDT

SOURCE White House Press Office