ACCESSION NUMBER:00000 FILE ID:95042703.NNE DATE:04/27/95 TITLE:COUNTERTERRORISM LEGISLATION WINNING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT TEXT: (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 days. 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 scrupulously." "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." NNNN .