Democrats are trying to pull a provision from a homeland security bill that will protect the public from being sued for reporting suspicious behavior that may lead to a terrorist attack, according to House Republican leadership aides.
The legislation, which moves to a House and Senate conference committee this afternoon, will implement final recommendations from the 911 Commission.
Rep. Pete King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican, sponsored the bill after a group of Muslim imams filed a lawsuit against U.S. Airways and unknown or “John Doe” passengers after they were removed for suspicious behavior aboard Flight 300 from Minneapolis to Phoenix on Nov. 20 before their removal.
“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 in an interview last night.
“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,” 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,” Mr. King said.
Republicans aides say they will put up a fight with Democrats when the conference committee begins at 1 p.m., to reinsert the language, but that public pressure is also needed.
If the Democrats pull this provision, passengers who see something suspicious, and report it, could end up being sued. As Bryan notes:
The story notes that Democrats like Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson opposed the “John Doe” protection out of fears it would lead to racial profiling. Because, of course, racial profiling is so much worse than losing a city full of innocent people.
The Democrats are more concerned about someone having their feelings hurt, than whether or not we’re safe. If there’s a risk of passengers getting sued, they’ll be hesitant to report suspicious activity. That could prove fatal for this country. Michelle has more, including an email from Frank Gaffney.
Let the House know how you feel:
Congress switchboard: 202-224-3121
Nancy Pelosi’s office: 202-225-4965