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Bush adds signing statement on privacy review to security spending bill

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush attached a signing statement [text] to the 2007 spending bill [DHS press release] for the Homeland Security Department [official website] Thursday, giving himself the authority to make changes to the agency's annual Privacy Office [official website] reports. Congress stated that only the Department's Privacy Officer could edit the reports, designed to ensure that the Department obeys privacy rules. Bush's statement would nonetheless allows him to construe the bill's section on privacy reports "in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."

Signing statements attached to legislation during the Bush presidency became controversial earlier this year when the Boston Globe and other papers reported that he had added them to some 750 bills [Boston Globe report] since the outset of his presidency. In July, the American Bar Association [official website] criticized the practice [JURIST report] as undermining congressional authority. The US Department of Justice [official website], however, has said that Bush's frequent use of signing statements is not abnormal [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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