FILE ID:95042703.NNE




(Laws must guard against domestic, foreign terrorism) (590)

By Rick Marshall

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The sorrow and tragedy of last week's Oklahoma City

bombing has added a new sense of urgency to the Clinton

Administration's drive to pass new comprehensive counterterrorism

legislation, and has pushed both parties together to fashion new

bipartisan tools to combat domestic and foreign-based terrorism.

A packed Senate Judiciary Committee heard Deputy Attorney General

Jamie Gorelick say April 27 that the bombing had tested the nation's

resolve like few other events in U.S. history. It "challenges all of

us," she said, "to prove that we have the will and the power to

fulfill a fundamental responsibility set out for us in the first

sentence of our Constitution: to 'insure domestic tranquility.'"

Several senators testified before her, including Majority Leader

Robert Dole (Republican, Kansas), who spoke of the "good meeting" he

and other congressional leaders had with President Clinton the

previous day to map out a response to the Oklahoma City disaster and

craft new counterterrorism legislation.

Dole stressed that partisan politics should play no role in countering

terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens.

In conjunction with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orin Hatch

(Republican, Utah) and Oklahoma's Republican Senator Don Nickles, Dole

submitted a proposed Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act to the

committee, one of many such bills it has received during the past few


Sen. Joe Biden (Democrat), the ranking Democrat on the committee, also

attended the White House meeting and predicted that the

counterterrorism bills pending before the committee, including the

Omnibus Counterterrorism Act the Administration has submitted, would

all be integrated. Those present at the meeting, he added, all agreed

on the need for careful deliberation so as to balance the needs of law

enforcement with established American civil liberties.

A number of U.S. groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union,

the National Association of Arab-Americans and the Irish National

Caucus oppose the Administration's counterterrorism plans on the

grounds that it may curtail the civil liberties, particularly of

certain ethnic groups.

Such fears about restrictions on civil liberties are unfounded,

Gorelick said. "We can take decisive and forceful action against

terrorism without sacrificing our nation's fundamental liberties. The

choice between civil liberties and a safe society is a false choice.

We need not -- and we will not -- trade off the guarantees of the Bill

of Rights in order to uphold our duty to 'insure domestic

tranquility,'" she stated.

Her view was shared by Louis Freeh, director of the Federal Bureau of

Investigation (FBI). He stressed that "if the Congress confers

additional authorities upon the FBI, they will be applied


"They will be applied constitutionally," Freeh stated, "in the broad

daylight of the peoples' oversight."

Freeh noted that the Oklahoma City bombing had led U.S. authorities to

be sure that American citizens were included in their definition of

terrorism. "We cannot protect our country...if we fail to take

seriously the threat of terrorism from all sources -- foreign and

domestic," he said. "There is no real difference between attacks

planned or perpetrated against U.S. citizens here or abroad. Our law

enforcement must be the same."

"For two decades the FBI has been at an extreme disadvantage with

regard to domestic groups which advocate violence," Freeh continued.

"We have no intelligence or background information on them until their

violent talk becomes deadly action.... Law enforcement has to know

something about those individuals and groups advocating deadly

violence in the furtherance of their causes."