Chertoff: Surveillance powers needed
By Hope Yen
WASHINGTON - The nation's chief of homeland security said Sunday that the U.S. should consider reviewing its laws to allow for more electronic surveillance and detection of possible terror suspects, citing last week's foiled plot.
Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stopped short of calling for immediate changes, noting that there might be constitutional barriers to the type of wide police powers the British had in apprehending suspects in the plot to blow up airliners headed to the U.S.
But Chertoff made clear his belief that wider authority could thwart future attacks at a time when Congress is reviewing the proper scope of the Bush administration's executive powers for its warrantless eavesdropping program and military tribunals for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"What helped the British in this case is the ability to be nimble, to be fast, to be flexible, to operate on fast-moving information," he said. "We have to make sure our legal system allows us to do that. It's not like the 20th century, where you had time to wait for warrants."
Chertoff said the U.S. is remaining vigilant against other attacks, citing concerns that terror groups may "think we are distracted" after last week's foiled plot.
*typing credits to Sara, because we couldn't find this online anywhere, and it only warranted a tiny article buried in the Tallahassee Democrat.