US President George W. Bush on Monday criticized senators who have blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act, saying these senators should explain why the law "is no longer necessary."
Speaking at a news conference at the White House, Bush said the Patriot Act provided law enforcement and intelligence agencies key tools to prevent attacks in the United States and was a "vital tool in the war on terror."
The law "tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorist threats. It allows federal investigators to pursue terrorists with tools already used against other types of criminals," he said.
The US Congress passed the Patriot Act soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and some key provisions of the act were set to expire on Dec. 31, 2005.
The House of Representatives voted last Wednesday to extend the key provisions after a compromise was reached between House and Senate leaders on the issue, but the process to renew the provisions was stalled at the Senate by a group of bipartisan opponents.
"It is inexcusable for the United States Senate to let this Patriot Act expire," said the president.
He urged the Senate to vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act, as "in the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment."
Bush said most of the senators now filibustering the extension of the Patriot Act voted for it in 2001, and these senators "need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the Sept. 11 attacks, but now think it's no longer necessary."