"For two years, this nation has been on the offensive against global terror networks overseas and at home," Mr. Bush said in remarks at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., where he updated law enforcement officials on efforts to improve homeland security.
"We have taken unprecedented, effective measures to protect this homeland, yet our nation has more to do," the president said. "We will never be complacent. We will defend our people and we will win this war."
Mr. Bush said there were unreasonable obstacles to investigating and prosecuting suspected terrorists, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller. He wants Congress to authorize the use of administrative subpoenas that are already being used in cases of healthcare fraud.
"If we can use these subpoenas to catch crooked doctors, the Congress should allow law enforcement officials to use them in catching terrorists," Mr. Bush said.
He also called on Congress to let terror suspects be held without bail, and for the death penalty in certain cases of sabotage against military and nuclear facilities.
"Sabotaging a defense installation or a nuclear facility in a way that takes innocent life does not carry the federal death penalty," Mr. Bush said. "This kind of technicality should never protect terrorists from the ultimate justice."
Laura Murphy, director of the legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, criticized Mr. Bush's remarks, saying the White House should "disavow the attorney general's power grabs" during the past two years.
"Politically and legally, further erosions of judicial oversight and the basic checks and balances that protect us and our democracy from political abuses of power — against both the right and the left — are the wrong path to take," Murphy said.
Mr. Bush's remarks come three days after he delivered a progress report on his administration's efforts against terrorism abroad, in which he focused on the war in Iraq and described it as the central battleground of the global war on terror.
The White House on Wednesday issued a 22-page "Progress Report on the Global War on Terrorism" as television networks were airing a new video of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, called on guerrillas to "bury" American troops in Iraq.
"Haven't heard it yet," the president said about the tape as he was touring a ballistics room and a chemistry lab where he saw sensitive equipment used to identify material from explosions at the USS Cole, embassies in Africa and the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.
Mr. Bush's homeland security speech came amid questions about whether the nation is better prepared now than on the day two years ago when terrorists killed some 3,016 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania with four hijacked airplanes.
Before departing the White House for Quantico, the president met with the prime minister of Kuwait, a key Persian Gulf ally where thousands of American troops are deployed as part of the ongoing Iraq campaign. Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah was appointed prime minister of Kuwait in July by his brother, Kuwait's emir, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah.
Wednesday evening, Mr. Bush was playing host to a private dinner and screening of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Twin Towers." Among his guests were to be the family of the New York police officer highlighted in the film, other police officers and some elected officials from the city.
For the anniversary, the president planned a series of deliberately sober, low-key appearances: a prayer service at a nearby church, a moment of silence on the White House's South Lawn at the hour of the first plane's crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York, and a visit with U.S. soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital from wounds suffered in Iraq.
"This is a day to remember and reflect upon those who lost their lives," McClellan said in explaining why the president's Sept. 11 schedule this year would be much more subdued than last.
Also Wednesday morning, Mr. Bush met briefly in the White House residence with the Dalai Lama. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who has campaigned for the cause of a free Tibet since fleeing his land for India in 1959 after a failed revolt against Chinese rule, is on his first tour of the United States in more than two years.
Afterward, the Dalai Lama told reporters that the president showed a "a genuine interest and a genuine sympathy, so I am quite sure that, whatever way, they will help us."