FILE ID:95042009.POL




(Members express outrage at Oklahoma City bombing) (650)

By Wendy S. Ross

USIA Congressional Affairs Writer

Washington -- Leading members of Congress say they want to work

closely with the Clinton administration to strengthen federal

anti-terrorist legislation in light of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The Senate "stands ready to work closely with the administration to

pass the toughest and most effective anti-terrorist bill at the

earliest possible time," Senate Republican leader Bob Dole said April


The Senate returns from a two week recess April 24; the House returns

May 1.

"President Clinton has sent the right message to the perpetrators of

this vicious crime: They will be caught, they will be punished, and

the American people will not be intimidated," Dole said.

Dole also applauded Attorney General Janet Reno for publicly stating

that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty once the

terrorists are apprehended. "If there was ever a crime deserving of

the death penalty, this is it," he said.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said "the cowards who are

responsible for this act of terrorism should be hunted down and

prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." The bombing of a

building containing hundreds of innocent people -- some of them only

children -- "is shocking and reprehensible," he said.

Representative Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International

Relations Committee, said the bombing of innocent children and

civilians in the heart of a city "is an act of abominable, cowardly

terrorism that strikes at the very foundation of civilized society."

"Coming barely two years after the bombing of the World Trade Center

in New York, this incident further demonstrates the necessity of

strengthening our ability to prevent terrorists from reaching our

shores and inflicting their violence upon our citizenry," Gilman said.

He said his panel would "favorably consider any administration request

to increase funding to help combat international terrorism," despite

severe constraints in federal spending for overseas activities brought

on by the deficit.

Representative Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,

held a press conference April 20 to denounce the bombing. He said his

panel will continue holding hearings on anti-terrorism legislation.

Earlier this month, prior to the Oklahoma City bombing, the committee

began an examination of the issue with a hearing that included

testimony from officials with the Central Intelligence Agency, the

Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the departments of State and


Hyde said his staff is completing work on draft legislation that

includes new restrictions on the granting of U.S. visas to aliens

linked to terrorist activities. It also includes provisions to curb

the fraudulent manipulation of lax U.S. immigration laws, including

the political asylum process.

Hyde said "America is vulnerable. It's like a hotel lobby. It's easy

to get in and easy to get out."

He said any legislation must give law enforcement agencies the

necessary resources to curb terrorist activities and prevent the entry

of foreign nationals who pose a risk to America's security.

Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Terrorism, Technology

and Government Information Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary

Committee, has scheduled a hearing for April 27 on separate

anti-terrorism legislation that was introduced in February at the

request of the Clinton administration.

That proposed legislation would make political terrorism a federal

crime and increase punishments up to and including the death penalty

-- already available for some types of federal terrorist acts.

It would let the government prohibit fund raising in the United States

on behalf of known terrorist organizations. It would also make it

easier to deport aliens living in the United States who engaged in

terrorism in the past or are presently engaged in terrorist


One of the more controversial aspects of the measure would give judges

power to review and use classified evidence that might not be provided

to the accused.