The SPEAKER pro tempore laid before the House the following message from the President of the United States; which was read and, together with the accompanying papers, without objection, referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, and the Committee on Commerce, and ordered to be printed:
To the Congress of the United States:
Today I am transmitting for your immediate consideration and enactment the `Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995.' This comprehensive Act, together with the `Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995,' which I transmitted to the Congress on February 9, 1995, are critically important components of my Administration's effort to combat domestic and international terrorism.
The tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19th stands as a challenge to all Americans to preserve a safe society. In the wake of this cowardly attack on innocent men, women, and children, following other terrorist incidents at home and abroad over the past several years, we must ensure that law enforcement authorities have the legal tools and resources they need to fight terrorism. The Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995 will help us to prevent terrorism through vigorous and effective investigation and prosecution. Major provisions of this Act would:
--Permit law enforcement agencies to gain access to financial and credit reports in antiterrorism cases, as is currently permitted with bank records. This would allow such agencies to track the source and use of funds by suspected terrorists.
--Apply the same legal standard in national security cases that is currently used in other criminal cases for obtaining permission to track telephone traffic with `pen registers' and `trap and trace' devices.
--Enable law enforcement agencies to utilize the national security letter process to obtain records critical to terrorism investigations from hotels, motels, common carriers, storage facilities, and vehicle rental facilities.
--Expand the authority of law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance, within constitutional safeguards. Examples of this increased authority include additions to the list of felonies that can be used as the basis for a surveillance order, and enhancement of law enforcement's ability to keep pace with telecommunications technology by obtaining multiple point wiretaps where it is impractical to specify the number of the phone to be tapped (such as the use of a series of cellular phones).
--Require the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to study the inclusion of taggants (microscopic particles) in standard explosive device raw materials to permit tracing the source of those materials after an explosion; whether common chemicals used to manufacture explosives can be rendered inert; and whether controls can be imposed on certain basic chemicals used to manufacture other explosives.
--Require the inclusion of taggants in standard explosive device raw materials after the publication of implementing regulations by the Secretary of the Treasury.
--Enable law enforcement agencies to call on the special expertise of the Department of Defense in addressing offenses involving chemical and biological weapons.
--Make mandatory at least a 10-year penalty for transferring firearms or explosives with knowledge that they will be used to commit a crime of violence and criminalize the possession of stolen explosives.
--Impose enhanced penalties for terrorist attacks against current and former Federal employees, and their families, when the crime is committed because of the employee's official duties.
--Provide a source of funds for the digital telephony bill, which I signed into law last year, ensuring court-authorized law enforcement access to electronic surveillance of digitized communications.
These proposals are described in more detail in the enclosed section-by-section analysis.
The Administration is prepared to work immediately with the Congress to enact antiterrorism legislation. My legislation will provide an effective and comprehensive response to the threat of terrorism, while also protecting our precious civil liberties. I urge the prompt and favorable consideration of the Administration's legislative proposals by the Congress.
William J. Clinton.
The White House, May 3, 1995.