Clinton Administration Counter Terrorism Initiative
I. Actions Already Announced by the President(1) Pass the Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act of 1995
- This bill would provide clear Federal criminal jurisdiction for any international terrorist attack that might occur in the United States; provide Federal criminal jurisdiction over terrorists who use the United States as the place from which to plan terrorist attacks overseas; provide a workable mechanism, utilizing United States District Judges appointed by the Chief Justice, to deport expeditiously alien terrorists without risking the disclosure of national security information or techniques; provide a new mechanism for preventing fundraising in the United States that supports international terrorist activities overseas; and would implement an international treaty requiring the insertion of a chemical agent into plastic explosives when manufactured to make them detectable.
(2) Provide more tools to federal law enforcement agencies fighting terrorism
- Amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to Ease access to financial and credit reports in anti-terrorism cases. This legislation provides for disclosures by consumer reporting agencies to the FBI for counterintelligence and counterterrorism purposes. The FBI has no mechanism for obtaining credit reports for lead purposes in counterterrorism cases. These reports are available to used car dealers and other merchants. The FBI currently has authority under the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 to obtain similar records pursuant to a "National Security Letter" signed by a high-ranking FBI official. the same procedures and safeguards would apply to credit records under this proposal.
- Amend Federal law to adopt, in national security cases the standard currently used in obtaining a "pen register" in a routine criminal case. This proposal would extend the relaxed standard for obtaining "pen registers" and "trap and trace" device orders which already exists in routine criminal cases, to national security cases. A "pen register" is a device which records the number dialed on a telephone. A "trap and trace" devices is similar to
"Caller ID," providing law enforcement with the telephone number from which a call originates. Neither "pen registers" nor "trap and trace" devices permit law enforcement to monitor actual conversations being conducted. the current, higher-than-regular standard
impedes the ability of the FBI to obtain surveillance coverage of terrorists and spies.
- Pass legislation to require hotel/Motel and common carriers to provide records necessary for fighting terrorism. This proposal would require hotel/motel and common carriers such as airlines and bus companies to provide records to the FBI pursuant to authorized national security requests just as they must do now for virtually all state and local law enforcement. The FBI must now rely on the voluntary assistance of motel, hotel, and other innkeepers or common carriers regarding records of terrorists who may have stayed at the establishment or used the common carrier. The FBI has found that, while some of these entities voluntarily provide such information, an increasing number refuse, absent a court order, a subpoena, or other legal protection. In a counterterrorism
case being conducted pursuant to the Attorney General's guidelines for FBI Foreign Intelligence Collection and Foreign Counterintelligence Investigations, there is no legal mechanism, e.g. subpoena, available to obtain these records.
- Fully Fund the FBI's "digital telephony" initiative to assure court-authorized law enforcement access for electronic surveillance to digitized communications. This proposal would appropriate funds to implement recent amendments to statutes governing secure telephone transmission (digital telephony). These amendments require telephone carriers to install and maintain sophisticated equipment which would permit law enforcement to continue to conduct legal electronic surveillance.
- Create and allocate funds for a special FBI counterterrorist and counterintelligence fund. This proposal will fund costs associated cases which arise in connection with terrorism crises, including logistics and other support.
- Create an interagency Domestic Counterterrorism Center headed by the FBI. This proposal will establish a partnership effort between the Justice Department, including the FBI, and other federal and state law enforcement authorities to coordinate efforts within the United States.
(3) Conduct terrorism threat assessment of every federal facility in the country within the next 60 days. The President has directed the Attorney General to conduct this assessment and report her recommendations in 60 days. The assessment has already begun.
(4) Direct GSA to replace the federal building in Oklahoma City.
(5) Direct the FBI Director, the Attorney General, and the National Security Adviser to prepare a Presidential Decision Directive authorizing any and all further steps necessary to combat foreign and domestic terrorism.
II. New Legislative Proposals(1) INVESTIGATIONS
- Hire approximately 1000 new agents, prosecutors, and other federal law enforcement and support personnel to investigate, deter, and prosecute terrorist activity.
- Pass legislation to require, within 1 year, the inclusion of taggants in standard explosive device raw materials which will permit tracing of the materials post-explosion
. This proposal would require the inclusion of microscopic particles in certain raw materials, thereby permitting law enforcement to trace the source of the explosive even after a device has been detonated.
- Require the BATF to study and report on 1) the tagging of explosive materials for purposes of identification and detection; 2) whether common chemicals used to manufacture explosives can be rendered inert for use in explosives; and 3) whether controls can be imposed on certain precursor chemicals used to manufacture explosives. In light of recent bombing incidents, there is a need to develop technologies that will make it possible to detect concealed explosives. Additionally, if bombings do take place, a means of providing some clues is needed to lead investigators to those responsible for the explosion. Moreover, since explosives can be manufactured using common agricultural and household materials, it is important to determine whether such materials can be manufactured in a manner so that their use in explosives is unlikely. Finally, the study would determine whether any reasonable controls can be placed on precursor chemicals, e.g., ammonium nitrate, which have many legitimate uses.
- Amend the Posse Comitatus Act to permit military participation in crime-fighting involving weapons of mass destruction. This proposal would amend Federal Laws, which severely limit the role of the military in domestic law enforcement, to permit military participation in criminal cases involving chemical, biological, and other weapons of mass destruction; areas in which the military has specialized expertise.
- Amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1968 to constitutionally enhance use of electronic surveillance to fight terrorism. This proposal would: permit any federal felony to be used as a basis for an electronic surveillance order; ease restrictions on the use, in American court proceedings, of information from electronic surveillance conducted by foreign governments; forbid suppression of electronic evidence unless law enforcement acted in bad faith in obtaining the evidence; authorize emergency electronic surveillance in situations involving threats by domestic terrorist organizations, authorize roving wiretaps where it is not practical to specify the number of the phone to be tapped, such as where a target uses multiple pay phones; allow the FBI to obtain records of local telephone calls, without the need for a court order, as they can own obtain records of long-diastase calls; and require telephone companies and/or service providers to preserve evidence until a court order could be obtained. None of these changes would alter the requirement for probable cause prior to engaging in electronic surveillance.
- Amend Federal law to criminalize the use of all chemical weapons to include all forms of chemical weapons. This bill would amend federal law to include chemical weapons in non-gaseous form. Under existing law, chemical weapons in gaseous form are covered, but those which are in liquid or solid form are not. Thus, for example, an individual who introduces dioxin in solid form into the water supply of a city would not be chargeable under current law.
- Make it illegal to possess explosives knowing that they are stolen. This proposal would conform explosive laws to existing firearms statutes, making it a crime for an individual to possess explosives which the individual knows are stolen.
- Extend the Statute of limitations on the National Firearms Act to five (5) years. This proposal would extend from three (3) to five (5) years the statute of limitations for prosecution for violations of the National Firearms Act, which deals with explosive and incendiary bombs. This change brings the statue of limitations for these offenses in line with similar criminal provisions.
- Provide the Secretary of Treasury authority to direct the use of Treasury Department aircraft to support emergency law enforcement situations. This proposal would authorize the Secretary of Treasury to authorize the use of Treasury Department aircraft in support of emergency law enforcement crises.
- Amend reward statutes to reduce restrictions on making rewards. This proposal would provide the Attorney General authority to pay a reward which is not subject to the spending limitations contained in 18 USC Sec. 3059 and 3072, provided that any reward of $100,000 or more may not be made without the approval of the President of the Attorney General, and such approval may not be delegated.
- Increase the penalty for anyone convicted of transferring a firearm or explosive knowing that it will be sue dot commit a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. This proposal will provide a mandatory penalty of not less than 10 years for any person who transfers a firearm knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that a firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence or drug-trafficking crime.
- Amend 18 USC Sec. 111 to provide enhanced penalties for all current and former Federal employees against terrorist attacks. The existing statute only protects enumerated categories of current Federal employees. The proposed statute would provide enhanced penalties for crimes against all current and former Federal employees, and their immediate families, when the crime is committed because of the official duties of the federal employee.
Return to the counter-terrorism index page
Return to the CDT Home Page
The White House's Position on Terrorism
Bill Clinton's Anti-Terrorism Measures
Bill Clinton's Legacy
I will make a bargain with the Republicans.
If they will stop telling lies about Democrats,
we will stop telling the truth about them.
"Clinton's advisors met nearly weekly on how to stop bin Laden ...
I didn't detect that kind of focus from the Bush adminsitration."
Two Star General Donald Kerrick
"I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting the dots.
I think they had a veritable blueprint and we want to know why they didn't act on it."
Senator Arlen Specter (R-pa)
"Of course Bush knew about the impending attacks on America . He did nothing to warn the American people, because he needed this war on terrorism. His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama. His presidency was going nowhere. He wasn't elected by the American people, but placed in the Oval Office by the conservative Supreme Court; the economy was sliding into the usual Republican pits and he needed something to hang his presidency on. This guy is a joke. His silence was sleazy and contemptible."
Lt.Colonel Steve Butler
What Bush Knew Before 911
Lt.Col.Steve Butler's Letter