Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Seeks Ways to Fight Terrorism

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Seeks Ways to Fight Terrorism

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton unveiled a number of proposals Wednesday to beef up federal investigations of terrorism in the wake of the bombing in Oklahoma City.

His 12-point package includes a request for 1,000 new federal law enforcement officials to investigate, deter and prosecute terrorism at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion over five years.

His proposals would permit use of the armed services to fight crimes involving "weapons of mass destruction" and would expand the government's ability to wiretap.

The president stopped short of calling for expanded FBI authority to infiltrate domestic groups suspected of terrorism, one proposal that has drawn considerable concern from civil liberties groups.

Clinton discussed his proposals Wednesday afternoon with congressional leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., said he hoped "all or most" of Clinton's proposals, along with some from members of Congress, could be passed by Memorial Day.

"We all agreed we should move as quickly as we can . . . but be careful about trampling on anybody's constitutional rights," Dole said.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said everyone at the meeting voiced "a serious commitment . . . to write a bill that protects our civil liberties while protecting us. We're not going to rush this thing through."

House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, just back from a trip to his district in St. Louis County, said "the American people are outraged" by the bombing and that Republicans and Democrats should "work hard to come up with one piece of legislation" that would enhance the government's ability to respond to terrorism.

Other parts of Clinton's proposals would have Congress:

Require the inclusion of "taggants" - microscopic particles - in raw materials for bombs that would permit their tracing after explosions.

Require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to study whether common chemicals and other materials like fertilizer can be made so as to limit their usefulness in making bombs.

Allow the armed forces to participate in criminal investigations involving chemical, biological or other weapons of mass destruction.

Permit any federal felony to be used as a basis for wiretaps and electronic surveillance. …

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