FILE ID:95042504.POL




(Plans hearing on how to prevent another bomb attack) (810)

By Wendy S. Ross

USIA Congressional Affairs Writer

Washington -- The Senate April 25 unanimously approved a resolution

condemning "in the strongest possible terms, the heinous bombing

attack against innocent children and adults" in Oklahoma City.

The resolution, approved 97-0, supports the administration's efforts

to seek the maximum punishment -- including the death penalty -- for

those responsible. It also promises swift congressional action on new

legislation to help federal agencies prevent another tragedy like the

Oklahoma City bombing.

The resolution was sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Senators Don

Nickles and James Inhofe and cosponsored by more than 60 other

senators, both Republicans and Democrats.

Nickles said the passage of the resolution represented the first step

in a united commitment by Congress to do everything within its power

to combat terrorist activity.

"There are countless people whose lives have been irreversibly altered

by this inconceivable act," Nickles said. "I wish we had the power to

turn back the clock. But since we cannot, we must at least take steps

to be better prepared for the future."

The overwhelming support for this resolution, he said, "sends a clear

and hopeful signal that members of the United States Senate stand

together in our resolve to combat acts of terrorism in our country."

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Senator Orrin

Hatch, is scheduled to hold a hearing April 27 on the Oklahoma City

bombing and on legislation to help prevent another such act.

Witnesses will include Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director

Louis Freeh, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, Treasury Under

Secretary Ron Noble, and terrorism experts Morris Dees of the Southern

Poverty Law Center, Robert Kupperman of the Center for Strategic and

International Studies, and Brian Jenkins of Kroll Associates.

Earlier April 25 Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary

Committee's Subcommittee on Intelligence, said "the FBI should have

greater powers" to investigate groups suspected of terrorism.

In an interview on the "Fox Morning News" program, he said Congress

"can respect constitutional rights and still do a much better job in

dealing with terrorism, both domestically and internationally."

Under guidelines established by the Department of Justice, "it would

be entirely constitutional for the FBI to have surveillance, to have

infiltration" of possible terrorist groups, he said.

According to a member of Hatch's staff, Hatch and Senate Majority

Leader Bob Dole plan to introduce anti-terrorism legislation that

combines features of a crime bill they introduced earlier this year,

an administration anti-terrorism bill, and proposals President Clinton

outlined April 23..

Clinton wants to establish a Domestic Counterterrorism Center that

would be headed by the FBI and to create a special fund to be used to

infiltrate suspected terrorist organizations.

Hatch said the proposed legislation would stiffen penalties for acts

of terrorism in the United States and add conspiracy to the list of

terrorist offenses -- giving law enforcement authorities a way to stop

terrorist organizations as they emerge rather than only after they

commit crimes.

The bill also would make it a crime to provide material support for

groups identified as being engaged in terrorist activities.

On the international front, it would give the courts and law

enforcement authorities tools to deport foreign terrorists quickly.

The bill also would try to keep those who support terrorists or engage

in terrorist activities from entering the United States.

Under the legislation, the secretary of state could deny visas to

people from nations that sponsor terrorism and to individuals who

belong to organizations suspected of terrorist activities.

In a speech on the Senate floor April 24, Dole said he spoke for all

the Senate "when I say that we stand with all the people of Oklahoma,

committed to doing all that is needed to protect America from the

terrorist threat."

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said all Senators, regardless of

their politics, "are united in their determination to do anything and

everything that we can do to ensure that the work goes on and that the

FBI and other law enforcement officials have the resources and have

the legal ability necessary to do what must be done."

However some Americans have expressed concern about the legislative

steps under consideration.

"Those of us who went through the civil rights movement, who went

through the anti-war movement know why restraints were placed on law protect our constitutional rights as Americans," said

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.

And Democratic Representative Charles Schumer urged Republican leaders

to delay plans to vote on a repeal of the assault weapons ban in light

of the Oklahoma tragedy.

"It would send the wrong message to paramilitary extremists on one

side and ordinary people on the other," Schumer said in a letter to

Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.