Want to be protected from frivolous lawsuits aiming at intimidating you from reporting suspicious behavior that you feel may lead to a terror attack? The Democrats don’t think you should be, and made that crystal clear this week:
Congressional Democrats today failed to include a provision in homeland security legislation that would protect the public from being sued for reporting suspicious behavior that may lead to a terrorist attack, according to House Republican leaders.
“This is a slap in the face of good citizens who do their patriotic duty and come forward, and it caves in to radical Islamists,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Republicans wanted the provision included in final legislation, crafted yesterday during a House and Senate conference committee, that will implement final recommendations from the September 11 commission.
Mr. King and Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican, sponsored the provision after a group of Muslim imams filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against US Airways and unknown “John Doe” passengers. The imams were removed from US Airways Flight 300 on Nov. 20 after fellow passengers on the Minneapolis-to-Phoenix flight complained about the imams’ suspicious behavior.
On March 27, the House approved the “John Doe” amendment on a 304-121 vote.
“Democrats are trying to find any technical excuse to keep immunity out of the language of the bill to protect citizens, who in good faith, report suspicious activity to police or law enforcement,” Mr. King said. “I don’t see how you can have a homeland security bill without protecting people who come forward to report suspicious activity.”
All hope, however, is not lost:
While the conference is not likely to meet again, Mr. King noted the conference report has not been written and says he will continue discussions with Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to insert the “John Doe” language.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican and ranking member of the committee, announced afterward she will attempt to attach a similar bill to an education measure currently under debate on the Senate floor.
I’m a little late on blogging about this, but you can read tons more links and commentary on this issue here.
My question on this is: Just who were the Democrats looking out for here? Lawyers, suspected terrorists, or both?