RAY SUAREZ: The nation's newest law passed in six weeks: Lightning speed for Congress, but still enough time for lawmakers and the White House to reach agreement. The President today said federal agents will enforce the antiterrorism measure with the "urgency of a nation at war."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: 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. This new law that I signed today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists including e-mails, the Internet and cell phones.
Investigations are often slowed by limits on the reach of federal search warrants. Law enforcement agencies have to get a new warrant for each new district they investigate, even when they're after the same suspect. Under this new law, warrants are valid across all districts and across all states.
RAY SUAREZ: Specifically, the antiterrorism law creates roving wiretaps, so investigators can track people who use multiple phones. Increases penalties for harboring and financing terrorists.
It allows detainment of non- citizens for up to seven days before being charged with a crime, and allows information sharing between the CIA, Which has more freedom of surveillance, and the FBI, which is more restricted. It targets money laundering by requiring U.S. banks to monitor more closely foreign accounts.
And the law expires after four years, a compromise for the White House, which initially opposed the so-called "sunset" provision. (Applause) In Washington yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft told the nation's mayors the measures represent a new era, even as he spoke of old era: Attorney General Robert Kennedy's 1960s fight against organized crime.
JOHN ASHCROFT: Robert Kennedy's Justice Department, it is said, would arrest mobsters for spitting on the sidewalk if it would help in the battle against organized crime. It has been said that that was an effective policy, and I believe it was.
Let the terrorists among us be warned: If you overstay your visas even by one day, we will arrest you. If you violate a local law, we will hope that you will and work to make sure that you are put in jail and be kept in custody as long as possible. We will use every available statute. We will seek every prosecutorial advantage.
RAY SUAREZ: Ashcroft said his Department will use its new powers right away. Since September 11, more than 1,100 people have been arrested or detained.