Bush signs extension of US anti-terrorism law



WACO, Texas - President George W Bush today signed an extension of an anti-terrorism law enacted after the September 11 attacks that critics say infringes on civil liberties.

The White House said Bush signed the legislation to extend until March 10 the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which was set to expire on Friday.

Bush was at his Crawford, Texas, ranch after stops earlier in Dallas and New Mexico to press for his State of the Union agenda.

He has sought a permanent renewal of the Patriot Act, saying it provides necessary tools for fighting terrorism. But some lawmakers want additional time to resolve concerns about protecting civil liberties before making most of the provisions permanent.

Bush acted one day after the Senate approved the bill passed earlier by the House of Representatives that provided a brief extension of the expiring provisions.

The Patriot Act expanded the power of federal authorities in conducting wiretaps and secret searches.

Critics have expressed concern over what they say is the government's ability to obtain an individual's private records in a terrorism investigation when it had not been determined that the person had ties to terrorism.