[Congressional Record: October 9, 2001 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
HON. RON PAUL
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, October 9, 2001
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Securing American
Families Effectively (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act makes common-sense
changes to federal law that will enhance the government's ability to
prevent terrorist incidents. Unlike other proposals, my legislation in
no way threatens the constitutional liberties of the American people.
In fact, the only people threatened under the SAFE Act are terrorists.
The SAFE Act repeals regulations preventing agencies who deal with
terrorism from sharing information among themselves. Currently, there
are limits on sharing data with policy makers and there is a nearly
unanimous agreement on lifting these restrictions. Removing the
restrictions on data sharing is a good step which provides more--not
less--openness and governmnent transparency.
Hard as it may be to believe, there are actually existing directives
in the law enforcement and intelligence communities which grant
suspects ``extra-legal'' rights. These ``special'' rights could, and
should, be clarified without changing existing law. This is why the
SAFE Act adopts several of the administration's proposals to change the
procedures regarding prosecutions of terrorism, such as eliminating the
statute of limitations for terrorist offenses.
Perhaps the most significant change made to procedures is codifying
that probable cause is the maximum standard for an investigation of
terrorism. According to information received by my office some federal
agencies actually have to meet a higher standard than the
constitutional standard of probable cause in order to launch an
investigation of suspected terrorists. It is absurd to make the FBI
meet a higher standard to initiate an investigation of a terrorist than
to initiate an investigation of an insider trader!
Finally, the SAFE Act drastically reduces immigration from countries
on the State Department's terrorist list and countries which refuse to
provide assistance in the battle against terrorists. Whatever one's
feelings on other questions connected with immigration, I would hope we
all could agree that the United States has an obligation to keep those
who may be threats to the security of United States citizens outside
the country. This is especially true considering that the programs I
proposed limiting allow immigrants to take advance of taxpayer-funded
educational programs and provide other special privileges for
immigrants from terrorist countries. It is the height of absurdity to
allow immigrants from countries involved in terrorist activities
against American citizens special preferences denied to immigrants from
America's closest allies.
I would also hope that we could all agree that this is far preferable
to systems of nationwide ``surveillance,'' which could threaten the
liberty of all immigrants and eventually all citizens. This is an
instance where the interests of liberty and security coincide entirely.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in taking
these common-sense steps to protecting the liberty and the security of
the American people from terrorists by cosponsoring the Securing
American Families Effectively (SAFE) Act.
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