cr> Counter-terrorism act


(Introduction from moderator: I think it's too late to do anything to
prevent the bill from becoming law.  It's Clinton's bill in the first
place, and he's already announced that he'll sign it.  But word is
getting around that it's a significant attack on civil liberties, so
perhaps we'll be better armed next time.--Andy)

              *ACLU Alerts House That Significant Wiretap Provisions*
               *Remain in Conference Report on Terrorism Legislation*

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today alerted
members of the House of Representatives that significant wiretap
provisions remain in the terrorism legislation now making its way
through Congress.

Despite assurances to the contrary by House and Senate leadership, the
ACLU said that the current conference version of the terrorism bill
includes two significant expansions of wiretap powers for government
law enforcement agents while also removing prohibitions on
eavesdropping by private parties.

In their desire to hide the wiretap provisions from concerned members
of the House, the conference leaders went to such extremes as to
subtly change wording in the conference report, the ACLU said.
Section 731 of the House Bill, for example, was titled "Exclusion of
Certain Types of Information from Wiretap-Related Definitions." While
the conference committee deleted the words "wiretap-related," it left
the wiretap provisions unchanged, the ACLU said.

The ACLU also pointed to another provision deeply buried in the
conference report that would require banks  to freeze assets of
domestic groups and U.S. citizens if there is any reason, however
vague, to believe that the organization or individual is an "agent" of
a designated foreign terrorist organization.

In addition, the ACLU said that the terrorism conference report
includes yet another provision added at the last minute that would
federalize state law to an even greater extent than either version of
the corresponding sections of the House and Senate bills sent to

"Taken together, these provisions should cause members of the House to
have deep concerns about the terrorism bill as they face a final
vote," said Gregory T. Nojeim, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Dangerous
and largely hidden changes have been made in this bill. We ask that
members of the House vote against this legislation to protect our
nation's liberties well into the next century.

"This bill," Nojeim added, "would do nothing to make safer, but would,
in effect, add the Bill of Rights and our nation's liberty to the list
of casualties of the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City."

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