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Bush Pushes Patriot Act, Kerry for New Anti-Terror Law


President Bush is urging Congress to renew the controversial anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act before it expires next year.

Mr. Bush says the legislation removes the "wall" separating law enforcement and intelligence communities and lets them share information. He also says he believes it protects civil liberties because it makes Americans safer.

Other supporters of the Patriot Act say it is a vital tool in the fight against terrorists, while critics say it needlessly infringes on civil liberties.

The act was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. Congress after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It gives the government expanded powers to use wiretaps, electronic surveillance and other forms of information gathering.

But opponents, including some conservatives, say it gives federal agents too much power to spy on individual Americans and restricts people's freedoms.

Likely Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry says the law should be replaced with new legislation that combats terrorism and improves the sharing of intelligence information, while also protecting privacy and constitutionally protected liberties.