Bush considers changes to Posse Comitatus Act

Bush signaled that the law was up for review when he said in a nationally televised address from New Orleans on Sept. 15 that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showed "a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces." White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan later said revision or repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act was an issue that "needs to be looked at" by Congress and the administration, adding that officials are in the "early planning of discussing it."

Some of the initial impetus for changing the law stemmed from a public outcry over some hurricane victims in New Orleans exploiting the chaos to loot appliance outlets, jewelry shops and clothing stores before police, National Guard troops or active duty soldiers reached flooded areas. Amid more recent indications that initial reports of lawlessness were exaggerated, concerns over giving federal troops wider authority have moved to center stage.