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[Congressional Record: June 7, 2002 (Senate)]
[Page S5252-S5254]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I rise today to speak principally on behalf 
of four important pieces of legislation. Two have important 
implications for national security, a third would help keep war 
criminals and those who commit atrocities abroad out of our country and 
the fourth would add a degree of fairness for law enforcement victims 
of September 11. All have been cleared on the Democratic side of the 
  Three are being blocked by holds placed by anonymous Republican 
Senators. One has passed the Senate and is being held up by the 
Republican leadership in the House. I appeal, again, today to our 
Republican colleagues to stop holding these important bills hostage, 
remove your secret hold, or at least come forward and identify yourself 
and your concern so that we may debate and make bipartisan progress on 
these important legislative matters.
  First is S. 1974, the FBI Reform Act, which I introduced with Senator

[[Page S5253]]

Grassley in February, after extensive oversight hearings.
  This bill would strengthen the FBI in its fight against terrorism, 
and was reported unanimously by the Judiciary Committee in April of 
this year.
  Since the attacks of September 11, and the anthrax attacks last fall, 
we have relied on the FBI to detect and prevent acts of catastrophic 
terrorism that endanger the lives of the American people and the 
institutions of our country. FBI reform was already important, but the 
terrorist attacks suffered by this country last year have imposed even 
greater urgency on improving the FBI. The Bureau is our front line of 
domestic defense against terrorists.
  Even before those attacks, the Judiciary Committee's oversight 
hearings revealed serious problems at the FBI that needed strong 
congressional action to fix. We heard about a double standard in 
evaluations and discipline. We heard about record and information 
management problems and communications breakdowns between field offices 
and Headquarters that led to the belated production of documents in the 
Oklahoma City bombing case. Despite the fact that we have poured money 
into the FBI over the last 5 years, we heard that the FBI's computer 
systems were in dire need of modernization.
  We heard about how an FBI supervisor, Robert Hanssen, was able to 
sell critical secrets to the Russians undetected for years without ever 
getting a polygraph. We heard that there were no fewer than 15 
different areas of security at the FBI that needed fixing.
  The FBI Reform Act tackles these problems with improved 
accountability, improved security both inside and outside the FBI and 
required planning to ensure the FBI is prepared to deal with the 
multitude of challenges we are facing.
  Just over the past month, the FBI Director has referred to the 
Justice Department inspector general important matters about the 
handling of probative information like the Phoenix report before the 9-
11 attacks. The FBI reform bill expands the Justice Department 
inspector general's authority to investigate all allegations of 
misconduct at the FBI. The FBI Reform Act also strengthens 
whistleblower protections for FBI employees who report misconduct to 
Members of Congress, as Minneapolis Field Office Agent Coleen M. Rowley 
  The FBI Reform Act also puts an end to statutory restrictions that 
contribute to the ``double standard,'' where senior management 
officials are not disciplined as harshly for misconduct as line agents 
are. Agent Rowley complained about this double standard in her May 21 
letter criticizing Bureau Headquarters about its handling of the 
Moussaoui case.
  Just this week the Judiciary Committee held an extensive hearing with 
the FBI Director, the Department of Justice inspector general and 
Special Agent Rowley. Any doubts that this legislation is needed and 
needed without further delay had to be erased by their candid 
  The FBI Reform Act was unanimously reported by the oversight 
committee for the FBI and reflects our determination to make sure that 
the FBI is as good and strong as it can be, and, all the more today, 
given the higher stakes, as good and as strong as America needs the FBI 
to be. This reform bill is a long stride toward that goal. I urge the 
Republican Members who have blocked passage of this bill to come 
forward and identify themselves, to speak to Senator Grassley and me 
about the importance of this legislation, and to share any concerns 
they may have so that we may proceed without further delay.
  Last December I introduced S. 1770 to implement two antiterrorism 
treaties, the Terrorist Bombing Convention and the Suppression of the 
Financing of Terrorism Convention. The antiterrorist bombing bill would 
bring the United States into immediate compliance with important 
international conventions signed by the United States under President 
Clinton's leadership.
  The two antiterrorism treaties at issue were transmitted to the 
Senate for ratification by President Clinton in 1999 and 2000, but not 
acted upon until the Senate reorganized under a Democratic majority 
last summer.
  The United States signed these treaties after the tragic terrorist 
bombings at the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Before 
control of the Senate changed hands, there was no action taken on these 
treaties in the Foreign Relations Committee. The antibombing treaty in 
particular sat in the Foreign Relations Committee for approximately 2 
years without action during the Clinton administration when the Senate 
was under Republican control. Senator Biden deserves credit for acting 
quickly to report these treaties within weeks after he assumed 
chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee.
  Yet even as Senator Biden was pushing to move the treaties themselves 
through the Senate, the Bush administration did not transmit proposed 
implementing legislation to the Judiciary Committee before or during 
the time that we were working together day and night to write the USA 
Patriot Act, the bipartisan antiterrorism legislation responding to the 
events of September 11. I remain puzzled why the administration felt 
that this measure should be separated from that effort.
  Both treaties require the signatory nations to enact certain, 
precisely worded criminal provisions in their laws in order to be in 
compliance. That is what S.1770, the Leahy bill, does. I introduced 
S.1770, on December 5, 2001, shortly after passage of the USA Patriot 
Act, as a separate bill. This was the same day that the Senate agreed 
to ratify both treaties. I then tried to move the bill quickly through 
the Senate, but an anonymous Republican hold blocked passage.
  Again this year I tried to move the bill through the Senate, but 
again there was an anonymous hold from the Republican side of the aisle 
which blocked its passage. Had there not been a hold placed on the bill 
last year, I am quite sure that we could have resolved any remaining 
issues in conference, as the Republican-controlled House was 
simultaneously passing its own version of my bill.
  After the anonymous hold was placed on S. 1770 at the end of the last 
session, we received a letter from the Department of Justice in late 
January of this year about the bill.
  The letter stated that the Department ``support[ed] the legislation 
but recommend[ed] several modifications.'' None of the modifications 
which the Department recommended dealt with issues that were necessary 
for compliance with the treaties, the basic purpose of the bill. The 
Leahy bill would bring us into full compliance with those important 
obligations and take away an excuse from nations that are hesitant to 
cooperate in the war against terrorism.
  The recent spate of horrible suicide bombings around the world and 
the fact that the convention prohibiting terrorist financing entered 
into force on April 10, 2002, demonstrate the pressing need for this 
legislation. As if that was not enough, last month the FBI Director 
warned that he believes that suicide bombings in the United States are 
``inevitable,'' bringing home the point that this legislation is 
required both to fight terrorism at home and abroad. Nevertheless, S. 
1770 has been subjected to an anonymous Republican hold since December 
of last year.
  In the post-September 11 environment it is almost beyond my 
understanding why any Member of this body would secretly obstruct 
passage of an important piece of antiterrorism legislation--yet here we 
are in June, blocked from compliance with two international terrorism 
treaties by a secret Republican hold.
  The third bill is S. 864, the Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act, 
which I introduced year and was reported by the Judiciary Committee, 
with bipartisan support, to close loopholes in our immigration laws 
that have allowed war criminals and human rights abusers to enter and 
remain in this country.
  I have been appalled that this country has become a safe haven for 
those who exercised power in foreign countries to terrorize, rape, 
murder, and torture innocent civilians. A recent report by Amnesty 
International claims that nearly 150 alleged human rights abusers have 
been identified living here, but warns that this number may be as high 
as 1,000.
  Observers have noted the irony that in the wake of the September 11, 

[[Page S5254]]

attacks, hundreds of foreigners have been rounded up though not charged 
with any terrorism-related crime.
  Yet at the same time, ``hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign 
nationals who have been plausibly accused of the most heinous human 
rights crimes, including torture and assassination, either have lived 
or still live freely in the U.S.'' [William Schulz, ``The Torturers 
Among Us,'' New York Review, p. 22, April 25, 2002.]
  This bill would not only add the new grounds, but also expand current 
grounds, for inadmissibility and deportation, by barring those aliens 
who have engaged, outside the United States, in ``torture'' and 
``extrajudicial killing'' and removing artificial limitations on the 
current grounds for exclusion for aliens who commit ``genocide'' and 
``particularly severe violations of religious freedom.'' This bill is 
important for the victims of these heinous crimes who seek refuge in 
this country and important for Americans to show that we will not 
tolerate perpetrators of genocide, extrajudicial killing and torture, 
living among us.
  I urge the Republican Members who have blocked passage of this bill 
to come forward and identify themselves, to share any concerns they may 
have so that we may proceed without further delay.
  I was pleased when the Senate did take up and pass the Mychal Judge 
Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act of 2002 
that I sponsored with Senators Campbell, Schumer, Clinton, and Biden.
  Named for Chaplain Mychal Judge, who was killed while responding with 
the New York City Fire Department to the September 11 terrorist attacks 
on the World Trade Center, this legislation recognizes the invaluable 
service of police and fire chaplains in crisis situations by allowing 
for their eligibility in the Public Safety Officers' Benefit Program. 
Father Judge, while deemed eligible for public safety officer benefits, 
was survived by his two sisters who, under current law, are ineligible 
to receive payments through the PSOB Program. This is simply wrong and 
must be remedied.
  Indeed, Father Judge is among 10 public safety officers who were 
killed on September 11, but who are ineligible for Federal death 
benefits because they died without spouses, children, or parents. This 
bill would retroactively correct this injustice by expanding the list 
of those who may receive public safety officer benefits to the 
beneficiaries named on the most recently executed life insurance policy 
of the deceased officer. This change would go into effect on September 
11 of last year to make sure the families of Father Judge and the nine 
other fallen heroes receive their public safety officer benefits.
  In addition, this bill would retroactively restructure the Public 
Safety Officers' Benefit Program to specifically include chaplains as 
members of the law enforcement and fire units they serve, and would 
make these chaplains eligible for the one-time $250,000 benefit 
available to public safety officers who have been permanently disabled 
as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty, or to the 
survivors of officers who have died.
  This measure is strongly supported by the National Association of 
Police Organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the American 
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
  Despite its Senate's passage and in spite of the fact that the House 
Judiciary Committee has favorably reported the House companion bill 
with bipartisan support to the House, the House Republican leadership 
has refused to follow through with passage of these measure. I urge the 
House Republican leadership to reconsider its decision and allow this 
important matter to proceed to final passage.
  These bills are not alone in being blocked by anonymous Republican 
holds. Holds have been placed on other important bills that the 
Judiciary Committee has acted upon and reported favorably to the 
Senate. Let me just cite a couple examples: S. 2010, the Corporate and 
Criminal Fraud Accountability Act, which I introduced after the Enron 
debacle to restore confidence in our securities; S. 2179, the Law 
Enforcement Tribute Act, which was introduced by Senator Carnahan to 
help State and local police pay for memorials to honor fallen officers; 
and S. 407, the Madrid Protocol Implementation Act, to help American 
businesses better protect their intellectual property in the 
international marketplace.
  In addition to the Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public 
Safety Officers Benefit Act, many other Senate-passed are languishing 
in the House of Representatives. These include the Federal Judiciary 
Protection Act, S. 1099, which I cosponsored with Senator Gordon Smith; 
the James Guelff and Chris McCurley Body Armor Act, S. 166, which was 
sponsored by Senator Feinstein; and the TEACH Act, S. 487, which I 
sponsored with Senator Hatch. These bipartisan measures were passed by 
unanimous consent through the Senate last year, but have been held 
hostage without action in the House for too many months.
  None of these 10 matters should be partisan, yet again and again, 
anonymous Republican holds have stopped Senate and congressional 
action. I appeal to my Republican colleagues in the Senate to lift 
their secret holds and to the Republicans in both Houses to stop 
obstructing these bipartisan bills, that are intended to protect our 
national security, our public safety, America's borders, and American