DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2002--Continued -- (Senate - September 13, 2001)
Mr. REID. Mr. President, the Senator from Utah is going to offer an amendment on his behalf and others'. I ask unanimous consent this amendment be the only first-degree amendment in order to this bill, of course, with appropriate second-degree amendments.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
AMENDMENT NO. 1562
(Purpose: To enhance the capability of the United States to deter, prevent, and thwart domestic and international acts of terrorism against United States nationals and interests)
Mr. HATCH. I send an amendment to the desk on behalf of Senators.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Utah [Mr. HATCH], for Mrs. Feinstein, for herself, Mr. Hatch, and Mr. Kyl, proposes an amendment numbered 1562.
Mr. HATCH. I ask unanimous consent reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
(The text of the amendment is printed in today's RECORD under ``Amendments Submitted and Proposed.'')
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, we are all interested in moving forward to support this funding bill, and we broke through the barrier where this is the last pending amendment. We are also even more concerned that the Government have the right tools to hunt down and find the cowardly terrorists who wreaked such havoc 2 days ago. For this reason, I believe it is important to make available important tools to those investigating this and related matters. This amendment, in my opinion, is critical and should pass this evening.
I have been working with my colleagues, Senators FEINSTEIN, KYL, and SCHUMER, on a package of reforms that can aid these investigations. I will highlight a few of the provisions to this bill.
As the tragic events of this week have shown, one of the most essential tasks our Federal Government faces in the post-cold-war era is that of protecting our Nation and our citizens from the unprovoked acts of terrorism. In the aftermath of Tuesday's devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we, as lawmakers, must take every step possible to ensure, in addition to adequate financial resources, that the law enforcement community has the proper investigative tools at its disposal to track down the participants in this evil conspiracy and to bring them to justice.
One of the most effective investigative tools at the disposal of law enforcement agencies is the ability to go to a Federal judge and get wiretapping authority. It is critical in matters such as this. That is the ability to intercept oral or electronic conversations involving the subject of a criminal investigation. The legislative scheme that provides this authority, and at the same time protects the individual liberties of American citizens to be secure against unwarranted government surveillance, is referred to in the criminal code as Title III. Among the many protections inherent in Title III is that only the investigations of certain criminal offenses, those judged to be sufficiently serious to warrant the use of this potent crime-fighting weapon, are eligible for wiretapping orders. The law lays out a number of crimes deemed by Congress to be serious enough to warrant allowing the FBI to intercept electronic and oral communications.
Title III currently allows interception of communications in connection with the investigation of such crimes as mail fraud, wire fraud, and the interstate transportation of stolen property.
Inexplicably, however, the Federal terrorism statutes are not currently included in Title III. I have been complaining about this for a long time and this is the time to correct it.
Let me repeat that. Title III currently allows interceptions of communications in connection with the investigation of such crimes as mail fraud, wire fraud, and the interstate transportation of stolen property--important issues.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will please suspend. The Senate will be in order. Senators will kindly take their conversations off the floor.
The Senator from Utah.
Mr. HATCH. It takes care of those criminal activities, mail fraud, wire fraud, and the interstate transportation of stolen property, however the Federal terrorism statutes are not currently included in Title III. As a result, Federal investigators are often hampered in the use of this powerful tool when investigating terrorist incidents. We have to remedy that, and we should not let a day go by without remedying it. We should not let some of the petty aspects of this body stand in the way, not passing this type of legislation right now when it is really needed, on the day that, for the first time in my 25 years, a vote was interrupted by a bomb threat and we all had to move outside.
It is time to start fixing these laws. We can play around with commissions. We can play around with task forces. We can do a lot of other things, but I would like to fix it now.
At this juncture of our history it is essential that we give our law enforcement authorities every possible tool to search out and bring to justice those individuals who have brought such indiscriminate death into our backyard. However, we must also be careful that in our quest for vengeance we do not trample those very liberties which separate us as a society from those who want to destroy us.
We are fortunate that we already have in Title III a legislative scheme that balances these conflicting interests. We must not be hesitant to bring this very important tool--the wiretapping statute--to bear on the terrorists who threaten our national security. That is one of the things this amendment will do, and in my opinion one of the most important things that this amendment will do. But it is not all this amendment will do.
Second, cybercrime is one of the fastest growing areas of criminal activities. Terrorists, criminals, and hostile governments are using computers as tools to perpetrate crimes, and are targeting computer networks to perpetrate acts of terror that, until this week, would have been unimaginable on American soil. Millions of dollars are lost annually as a direct result of this criminal behavior, and it is no longer a fantasy that thousands of lives could be lost in future terrorist incidents.
The FBI is devoting an increasing share of its resources to combat cybercrime. It is up to us as lawmakers to ensure that, in additional to adequate resources, the FBI has the proper tools at its disposal to meet this new challenge.
Title III allows the Department of Justice to go to a Federal judge and get authority to intercept oral or electronic conversations in connection with the investigation of criminal activity. The law lists a number of crimes deemed by Congress as serious
enough to warrant allowing the FBI to intercept communications. Because cybercrime is a relatively recent development, the Federal cybercrime statute is not currently included in Title III. As a result, Federal investigators could
not use this powerful tool when investigating cybercrime offenses.
Tuesday's despicable attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon must serve as a wake-up call that we are vulnerable to attack in ways we have never imagined. A computer-based attack on our criminal justice infrastructure remains a very real possibility. I urge all my colleagues to agree to this amendment to provide our law enforcement authorities with the tools they need to effectively combat this growing menace to the security of our society.
There are other important tools this amendment will provide, tools that those investigating the terrorist acts committed earlier this week will be able to use to prevent terrorist acts in the future. We put up with an awful lot of mistaken arguments around here throughout all these years that made it very difficult to put human intelligence to work in the interests of the protection of our people, and it is inexcusable, under these circumstances, to allow that to continue.
As you know, in some cases, when dealing with human intelligence assets, sometimes you have to deal with unsavory characters because they are the only ones who can get inside and help us know the motivations of some of the people who are about to do terrorist acts. It is pretty pathetic that we cannot get our law enforcement people the ability to get wiretap authority against terrorists because they are not included in title III, unless there is some underlying criminal reason for doing so. We have to stop that. If we wait any longer, it seems to me, it is a big, big mistake, with the way people are afraid in this country, with what happened this week, and with the threats that continue to surround us throughout the world.
I have a lot more to say on this, but I think, if I can, I would like to yield the floor to my colleague from Arizona, if he cares to take the floor, and he can talk about further aspects of this bill.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
Mr. KYL. Mr. President, it is my intention to be very brief, unless there is some objection to what we are doing, because I think all of us would like to get on with the adoption of this piece of legislation so we can conclude work on this bill. But just to ensure there is an adequate description of it, I would like to take a minute.
I also ask unanimous consent that Senators DEWINE, SESSIONS, and THOMPSON be added as original cosponsors.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. KYL. I believe Senator Schumer will have some things to say in a moment. He may ask as well to be added.
Let me be very clear about the intent of this legislation. This country has just suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history. All of us are focused on the victims. We are focused on the terrible devastation and the individual lives impacted. But, as policymakers, we have also been asked some hard questions by our constituents and those questions include things such as: Why can't our Government do something about these horrible crimes? As policymakers, we have to respond to that. We have such an opportunity. I use that word advisedly because in the circumstances that put us where we are today, that word seems hardly appropriate. But we do have an opportunity, given the fact we are here doing business on behalf of the American people, and that part of that business is the bill that relates to the jurisdiction of the Justice Department, the funding for that Justice Department, and the fact that the bill before us, in fact, even includes some revisions in the law with respect to the authority to deal with terrorism. It sets up a special new office in the Attorney General's office, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, to deal specifically with terrorism, and in other ways deals with terrorism. Therefore, there is an ability for us today to focus on some additional improvements that can be made in our law to deal with terrorism.
I hasten to say that this is not ``the answer'' to the problem of terrorism. In the first place, I do not think there is a silver bullet. There is no single answer. We already know that there are a whole lot of things we are going to have to do to improve our ability to detect it, to predict it, to stop it, and to enforce whatever action is appropriate after the fact.
I am sure we will be creating commissions and we will be passing legislation. In fact, we are going to be passing an appropriations bill to begin to fund some of the cleanup of this in the very near future, I hope.
There are a lot of things that we have to do. One set of things experts in terrorism have been telling us for a long time and the Director of the FBI has been telling us has to do with a few changes in the law that make it easier for our law enforcement people to do their job.
I have a copy of just one of the three major commissions that have reported on terrorism. This is a report called ``Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism,'' a report from the National Commission on Terrorism. This was chaired by former Ambassador Bremer and Maurice Sonnenberg, both of whom testified before the Terrorism Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, which I chaired at the time. In fact, all of these commission reports have been the subject of hearings before our subcommittee, as well as numerous other hearings dealing with the subject.
In addition to that, we have had a lot of testimony from the Director of the FBI and other U.S. Government officials all imploring us to do some things to help in this battle against terrorism. We took a run at some of these things. In fact, we incorporated some of the provisions of these commission recommendations in the bill that passed the Senate a year and a half ago.
It is hard to put a percentage on it, but maybe half of the amendment before us tonight embodies those same recommendations. So we have already voted on half of the things that are in this amendment. Some of the others have come later.
The point is that we dealt with these issues. There has been legislation dealing with these issues. There have been numerous hearings about these issues. They were in effect lying on the table waiting for us to deal with them. Unfortunately, it is the case that even though from time to time we have put some of these ideas out, there has always been a reason not to do it, to wait, to defer, to hold off on that, and that we will have a comprehensive look at this or whatever it might be. We have to set our priorities around here.
But those of us who sit on the terrorism committee--the Intelligence Committee and other committees of jurisdiction--have become increasingly restless because we keep getting briefed on the potential for terrorist threats, and we keep imploring our colleagues to please let us act on these things.
Finally, we have an event that is so horrendous and so deplorable that all of America is asking us to declare war on terrorism. Indeed, that should be our attitude, in effect. So we are now faced with a challenge from our constituents, and they are absolutely right. What are you going to do about it? Of course, the first question they have been asking us is, What have you been doing about it? My answer is there are a whole lot of things you are going to see us doing that we need to do.
We can start tonight with a few substantive changes in the law that will make an impact on our ability to fight these crimes of terrorism. Some of this bill calls for analysis and reports about some additional things that we might want to do. It will give us the factual basis for acting in the future. Some of the provisions are actual operative provisions that will take effect the minute the President signs the bill to begin to give our law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to better fight these kinds of crimes.
The former chairman of the Judiciary Committee has just talked about a couple of these provisions--the so-called ``predicate crime provisions.'' It is incredible our law enforcement agencies have to begin investigating crimes of terrorism under the auspices of looking into other crimes. Maybe there is computer fraud or credit card fraud and we will use that as we look to investigate crimes which are really crimes of terrorism. With this, we call a spade a spade, and say we are investigating terrorism. That is what we expect is the case. That gives us the legal authority to go to the judge and get the warrant or authority to move forward.
In addition, we have an odd thing which crept into our policy that we change. It made sense when it was applied to other governments. We said we are not going to recruit people to spy on other governments guilty of crimes or human rights abuses. That is a policy. I don't think we were thinking about terrorism because it is pretty hard to infiltrate a terrorist organization with a Boy Scout. They sort of show. What you need are people who are accepted by these terrorist cells. Some of them are undoubtedly going to have some things in their background of which ordinarily we would not approve. But it is the only way they are going to get into the terrorist cell. We provide that kind of recruitment can take place.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?
Mr. KYL. Yes. I am happy to yield to the chairman.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, does the Senator understand that intelligence agencies today are unable to buy information--just to use that as example--from someone who might be part of a terrorist organization?
Mr. KYL. If I could respond, that is not the issue we are addressing here--the purchasing of information. What we are addressing is the recruitment of what the intelligence community calls ``assets''--people who would be useful in infiltrating an organization and getting information out of that cell and sharing that information with us.
Mr. LEAHY. Is the distinguished Senator from Arizona saying that we are unable to have what is called a retainer, or bribe, or anything else on a regular basis and have somebody who is part of the terrorist organization be giving information to us?
Mr. KYL. This amendment doesn't deal with any question of payment for agent services. I presume we could do that. This amendment doesn't have anything to do with that. The problem that we have here is the former Director of the CIA created the policy because of some things that occurred in our past--if we are going to recruit assets, people who would do work for us, those people cannot have in their background human rights abuses. They cannot have that kind of background. That is a principle policy if you are recruiting somebody to act against another government. But when you are trying to infiltrate a terrorist organization, you are probably going to have to talk to people who themselves have pretty checkered backgrounds. If you could use those people--whatever their motivation; maybe they do it for money, or for some other reason--but if they are willing to give you information based upon their ability to find out what a terrorist organization is doing, then it is very valuable.
As the distinguished chairman knows, our ability to collect information on these groups is very limited. Almost everybody in the community talks about the need for better human intelligence. Unless we are able to recruit the kind of people who could provide that intelligence, it is going to be pretty difficult for us to get it.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Senator has the right to make his whole argument, and I don't want to interfere with that. Unfortunately, because this is something that we have had no hearings on, we haven't had the discussions in the appropriate committees--Intelligence, Armed Services, and Judiciary--we are somewhat limited in opposition. I will not cite numerous examples of situations which I think would make clear that we do not have the limitations. I know the concern the Senator from Arizona has. I don't question his concerns. But in open session, I am restrained from going into some of the very specific things where concerns he raised have been responded to in the law by our country. I will not. But that is why I would suggest something like this to the Armed Services Committee which has the ability to go easily into closed session, and often does. It would be able to look at it and make a recommendation to the Senate.
Our committee would be able to make a recommendation to the Senate, which can be done relatively quickly, and the Intelligence Committee.
I would feel far more comfortable voting on something like this if these various committees not only had a chance to look at it but that President Bush's administration--the Attorney General, the Director of CIA, the Secretary of Defense--would have the opportunity to let us know their views on it. I would feel far more comfortable with that. I worry that we may run into the situation where--all of us have joined together in our horror at these despicable, murderous acts in New York and at the Pentagon--we do not want to change our laws so that it comes back to bite us later on.
Mr. KYL. I want to assure the distinguished chairman that we are not changing the law. This is simply a guideline the previous CIA Director felt was needed. We are not changing the law. We are not doing anything untoward or unconstitutional.
Our constituents are calling this a war on terrorism. In wars, you don't fight by a Marquis of Queensberry rules. The time to be overly punctilious about who you get to work with you to get information from the enemy ought to come to an end.
I will assure the distinguished chairman that we are assured that in the past this has not been too much of a problem. But the problem is, our folks are a little reluctant to try to go recruit people with the current limitations in place because of the difficulties that presents.
All this does is to change a guideline--no legal statutory change--that simply says if they believe particular people would be useful in gathering intelligence against terrorist organizations--it is specifically limited to that--then they may recruit those people even though there might be something in their background that suggests they have a checkered past.
If we cannot use informants against terrorist organizations, which by definition means there are no good actors, then we start this war with one hand tied behind our back.
There are a lot of other changes that we make in this amendment. Let me just illustrate the nature of the things we do. I think almost all of them are going to be very uncontroversial.
We ask for a study on the role that the National Guard could play in these events.
We say it is the sense of Congress that we should commence a long-term research and development program to address catastrophic terrorist attacks. Our intelligence folks really need to begin R&D into techniques for dealing with things such as fiberoptic cable. It is very difficult to intercept communications. With things such as encryption, it is very difficult to hear what people are really saying. Times are a changing. We need to be able to develop the techniques to meet these new challenges. This simply expresses the sense of the Senate that we should get on with that.
There is a section in this amendment that permits disclosure by law enforcement agencies of certain intelligence obtained by the interception of communications. We implement one of the recommendations of the Bremer commission, which said there is a lot of illicit fundraising for terrorist organizations going on in the United States. We need to get a handle on that. So again, we have the sense of the Senate in this amendment that Congress needs to do that. It is not a significant operational provision.
We have a report required on controls on pathogens and equipment for the production of biological weapons. I think this is something everyone will support. There has been a lot of testimony on its need.
There is a provision that our law enforcement people would like, which I think is eminently reasonable, and that is that they be reimbursed for the cost of professional liability insurance. When we send them off to do certain kinds of work and they may act in such a way that they are going to get sued, ordinarily the Government would be the party that is sued. But the Government is immune from suit, so the individual agents are sued. We would like to at least pay for part of their professional liability insurance when we have asked them to go off and do something.
Then the final provision, other than the two Senator Hatch has already talked about, deals with authorities that the last Director of the FBI has implored our committee to give him for years. I will state the problem and then tell you what the solution to it is.
When you do a wiretap, it is fairly straightforward. You go to a court, get an order based upon cause, and then you tap
into the phone line. But with regard to computer attacks, whether it be a terrorist attack, all the way down to a hacker--and even hackers can cause a lot of problems, but what you want to do, hopefully in real time, is trace the attack back to its source, so you can stop it or you can prosecute the perpetrators. And if it is a terrorist attack, you want to get to it immediately.
The problem is, these people are very clever. Someone, let's say in Afghanistan, will electronically hook into somebody in New Delhi. And then through that computer they hook into somebody at the University of California in San Francisco. And through that computer they hook into AT&T in Chicago. And through that computer they hook into the Pentagon.
It is well known that you can do this. It is not apparently that difficult to do. Unfortunately, under the law, when the Pentagon starts getting hit, first you get a court order in Virginia. Then you go to Illinois and you get a court order there. Then you go to San Francisco and get a court order there. I don't know what you do in New Delhi. But the bottom line is, we need to have one place where you go get your court order, just like you do for a wiretap.
That is what the FBI Director, on numerous occasions, asked us to provide, the authority to be able to do that. I can quote you page after page of his testimony asking for this. I will not do that in the interest of time.
These are the kinds of things that law enforcement has asked us for. This combination is relatively modest in comparison with the kind of terrorist attack we have just suffered.
Clearly, there are a whole range of actions that we are going to need to take, but the benefit of it is they have all been the subject of hearings or reports by these commissions. They are clearly the kinds of steps that we need to begin to take. And we can do that tonight on a bill which clearly relates to the subject and at least begin the process of assuring the American people that we are doing what we can do to stop these horrible events.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
Mr. GREGG. Mr. President, I have been consulting with the chairman of the committee, and we are hopeful to get a vote on this amendment and a vote on final passage. We do intend, according to our leadership, to do that tonight.
In the interest of time, I was wondering if we could reach a time agreement on this amendment. Obviously, the proponents of the amendment have just spoken, by my estimate, for about a half an hour. I was wondering if we could reach a time agreement where anybody rising in opposition would be able to claim a half an hour, and then there would be a final 10 minutes which would be equally divided. We would have a vote on this amendment sometime around 8:45. I ask unanimous consent if people would agree to that.
Mr. Leahy. i reserve the right to object; actually i will.
i say to my distinguished friend from new hampshire, i would be delighted to discuss that. i am still reading this amendment. we have, for example, the requirement for full reimbursement. it sounds like a good idea for people who are----
mr. gregg. i ask the senator, is there a time agreement the senator would be comfortable with?
mr. leahy. i will be happy to discuss it with him. i thought it might be a little easier if i could get some of the questions i have answered.
mr. gregg. i withdraw my request, then, and yield the floor.
mr. leahy. there is----
mr. gregg. the senator might want to seek recognition.
i yield the floor.
mr. leahy. i wonder if the proponents of the legislation could tell me, how much--i am not going to say we should not do this, but we have professional liability insurance, as it looks to me, for several thousands of people.
do we have any idea how much that would cost? are we talking about $50 million, $100 million, $200 million? can any of the proponents of the legislation tell me that?
let's say it is $200 million. we will just write that down. it is easy enough to say $200 million. we have something that has been put together in the last few minutes.
so we have a requirement, notwithstanding any other provision of law. in other words, notwithstanding whatever other limits are in here, we shall reimburse for professional liability insurance for what appears to be several thousands of people.
heck, i would like to add to that maybe we could all get ours paid for at the same time. i know mine costs several hundred dollars a year.
this might be a fine thing, but if we ask the cia and the justice department to do that, it has to come out of their budget. they are all strapped for money to spend on fighting terrorism and whatnot. are they willing to take a $200 or $300 million cut from their budget? i just ask the question. i have not heard an answer.
mr. hatch. if the senator will yield?
mr. leahy. of course. i yield without losing my right to the floor.
mr. hatch. i am not sure we know the exact amount, but what justification is there for these heroic law enforcement people who are doing the people's business to have to pay for their own liability insurance in case they get sued by a voracious trial lawyer who would----
mr. leahy. it seems to me the distinguished senator from utah misstated--and i assume by accident--what i said. i happen to be in favor of people who are going to be out there for our country getting their insurance paid for if they are in a situation where they do not come under the normal provisions that insulate them from suit.
i know millions of dollars were spent by people from all the investigations that the congress and others had against government employees, investigations that resulted in nothing in the end, except for the millions of dollars these people paid out of their own pocket. sure, i think they should have insurance for that. i just ask the question: how much? and will this money come out of their other budget? if it is going to be $200 million or $300 million, let's have a line item for that. i will vote for such a line item.
in here it says, on wiretapping, pen registers, trap and trace devices, if the court finds that a state investigator or law enforcement officer--it could just be an investigator; i don't know if this means a private investigator, a licensed pi--if they certify to the court that the information is relevant, if they just came in and said: your honor, i certify this is going to be relevant; i am a state investigator; i am the deputy sheriff of east washtub--i apologize to anybody if there is such a town, east washtub. let's say i am a deputy sheriff on weekends and a mechanic the rest of the time, and i certify we need this, a state officer. does that mean a federal judge is going to stop things and give them the order?
i have worked with some very good deputy sheriffs in my time. i am not sure that even with the best--some of them were darned good when i was a prosecutor--any of them are going to go into federal court and say: i want to certify i need this wiretap or this pen register, trap and trace.
i think we ought to at least know what that is, going into people's computers because the local investigator says, ``i want to.'' i am not sure if the authorities, under normal going into court, asking for a court order, having a hearing, can go into my computer; that is one thing. but if somebody goes out there, for example, and sees me having target practice outside my house--i have a pistol range out back of my house--and they say: i wonder how many guns he has; i want to go into his computer to find out just in case he has listed his ammunition purchases. should they be allowed to? i would think some of those who are concerned about the rights of gun owners might be a little bit concerned about this provision. i am a gun owner. i am concerned.
authority to do wiretaps. it says here that we will redesignate paragraph (p), as so redesignated by section 434(2) of the antiterrorism and effective death penalty act of 1996, public law 104-132; 110 stat. 1274, as paragraph (r); and (2) by inserting after paragraph (p) as so redesignated by section 201(3) of the illegal immigration reform and immigrant responsibility act of 1996, division c of public law 104-208; 110 stat. 3009-565, the following new paragraph:
(q) any criminal violations of sections 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2332d, 2339a, or 2339b of this title (relating to terrorism).......
does anybody want to tell me what that means? i thought we were here to give help to our law enforcement and our antiterrorist authority to go after people. i thought we were here to try to finish up a bill that the senator from south carolina and the senator from new hampshire have worked on very closely--and the senator from west virginia and the senator from alaska--that would give money to our law enforcement agencies so we could go ahead and work and try to get the money which the city of new york and the state of new york desperately need after the horrific, murderous terrorist acts in that city. i thought that was what we were here for.
i will not reread what i said, but to do something that
nobody here on the floor can understand or explain, including the people who introduced the amendment.
now maybe somewhere there is a press release in there. why don't we all send out a press release, a generic one that says we are against terrorists? no member of the senate is for terrorists. why don't we say we are against murder? of course we are. but then why don't we say what we are doing here? we are going to amend our wiretap laws so we can look into anybody's computers.
if we are going to change all these things, if we are going to direct the director of the cia and, in effect, direct the president to change the rules of the cia, something the president could have them do just like that, if the president really wants to--if we are going to do all that here, with no hearing, what does this do to help the men and women who were injured or killed in the pentagon--and their families? what does this do to help the men and women in new york and their families and those children who were orphans in an instant, a horrible instant? hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children became orphans instantaneously. what does that do for them?
somewhere we ought to ask ourselves: do we totally ignore the normal ways of doing business in the senate? if we do that, what is going to happen when we get down to the really difficult questions?
maybe the senate wants to just go ahead and adopt new abilities to wiretap our citizens. maybe they want to adopt new abilities to go into people's computers. maybe that will make us feel safer. maybe. and maybe what the terrorists have done made us a little bit less safe. maybe they have increased big brother in this country.
if that is what the senate wants, we can vote for it. but do we really show respect to the american people by slapping something together, something that nobody on the floor can explain, and say we are changing the duties of the attorney general, the director of the cia, the u.s. attorneys, we are going to change your rights as americans, your rights to privacy? we are going to do it with no hearings, no debate. we are going to do it with numbers on a page that nobody can understand.
and by the way, we are going to tell the people who are working around the clock today to stop that and give us reports within 2 months on all these areas. by the way, we commend you for the work you are doing, but set aside a few dozen people and the president to give us these certifications. part of it seems to me to ask the attorney general to report back to us right away. we are asking the president to report back to us right away.
frankly, i think the attorney general and the president have their hands full right now. i commend them for what they are working on. i have talked with the attorney general several times over the last few days. he hasn't told me that he needs this investigation. he is pretty busy working on what he is doing. and i say attorney general ashcroft is doing a very good job.
i have spoken to the director of the cia. he has not requested that we suddenly turn the attention of the senate to this legislation. i haven't heard from the president that he wants to suddenly have them do a number of reports connected with this. maybe it would make a lot more sense if we gave the chairman, the vice chairman of the intelligence committee, the chairman and ranking member of the armed services committee, and the chairman and ranking member of judiciary a chance to actually have the kind of hearings necessary to know what we are doing so that we do not get into some of the problems we got into in the past.
if we are going to change habeas corpus, change our rights as americans, if we are going to change search and seizure provisions, if we are going to give new rights for state investigators to come into federal court to seek remedies in the already overcrowded federal courts, fine, the senate can do that. but what have we done to stop terrorism and to help the people in new york and the survivors at the pentagon?
i yield the floor.
mr. hatch. mr. president, i have heard a lot of talk here. but we are talking about giving the tools to law enforcement that it needs to stop further terrorist acts in our society. you want the authority? i will tell you what the authority is right now. we don't need a lot of facts and statistics.
this publication i hold in my hand is ``countering the changing threat of international terrorism,'' the report of the national commission on terrorism. by the way, every one of these principles in this amendment, the justice department wants, and wants badly, so that they can do their job to protect american citizens.
this national commission on terrorism says, just to go back to the original point:
by recent statute, a federal agency must reimburse up to one-half of the cost of personal liability insurance to law enforcement officers and managers or supervisors.
here is their recommendation, and it is not a bunch of obfuscation; it is pretty darn straight:
recommendation: congress should amend the statute to mandate full reimbursement of the cost of personal liability insurance for federal bureau of investigation special agents and central intelligence agency officers in the field who are combating terrorism.
as i understand it, cia officers do have this. so it is not something that hasn't been considered or discussed by the top echelons of people who are knowledgeable about terrorism.
to get back to the provisions that we are considering, a lot of people in this country don't realize that you cannot tap the lines of the terrorists without some predicate reason for doing so. they are not in title iii of our code. this corrects
that. it doesn't give law enforcement agents carte blanche to go out and do wiretaps. you still have to go to a judge. you still have to get the requisite authority. you have to present persuasive evidence to a judge to obtain wire-tapping authority.
but this is a tool that absolutely has to be had now, not a month or two from now. let me go just a little bit further. this statute does not change the standard for trap and trace. it only adds emergency authority for the u.s. attorney. all trap and trace applications are approved by a federal judge. you have to make your case before a federal judge. it isn't some wild-eyed breach of personal privacy. it gives us some tools to go get the terrorists. local sheriffs cannot apply for trap and trace under these new provisions. only u.s. attorneys can. i get a little tired of that type of talk. i have heard the suggestion that anybody can go in, and anytime some local sheriff wants to, he can tap a computer. that is unmitigated bull.
let's talk about the computer situation. currently, a judge's order applies only in the jurisdiction where it is issued. typically, hackers go from computer to computer, leaving a trail that law enforcement has to follow. investigators must go from jurisdiction to jurisdiction obtaining a trap and trace in every jurisdiction in order to follow a hacker's trail. let's put it terms of a terrorist who happens to go in all 50 states. that means that, in order to investigate, law enforcement has to go in every state in the union to a federal judge and get authority to do what ought to be done overnight in front of a single federal judge. under the amendment we are proposing, it can be done overnight by going to a single federal judge.
these are the kinds of things that bother me. this is what this amendment will do.
mr. reid. will the senator yield for a question?
mr. hatch. i will be happy to sit down soon because i know we are ready to vote soon.
the chairman of the judiciary committee suggested that a prosecutor could get a wiretap for anything they wanted under our amendment. with all due respect, under title iii, a prosecutor must still go to a judge, just as he or she would when investigating wire fraud or interstate transport of stolen property. if this amendment is passed, the only change would be that a prosecutor could get wiretapping authority with respect to a terrorism or cyberterrorism offense.
is terrorism or cyberterrorism as important as that? will a judge apply a different standard in issuing authority for those wiretaps? you and i know a federal judge will not do that. i think the answer is obvious. why should we dither when we know that these tools will help? the fbi are the justice department strongly support for these important reforms. let us adopt them now, and fight these problems now. we are not altering the constitution or taking away the people's rights. we are helping to give the tools to our law enforcement community to stop terrorism. we are helping law enforcement help us to be safe and to investigate the crimes like those committed this week.
there is a lot more i could say. i understand we are ready to vote. i wanted to set the record clear.
the presiding officer. the senator from vermont is recognized.
mr. leahy. mr. president, i will respond only because my name was mentioned in this last debate and the implication was made as to what my position was. let me state my position to be accurate on the record. i read this to say: if the court finds that the state investigative or law enforcement officer--obviously two entirely different things--has certified to the court that the information likely to be obtained by such installation used is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation, they get the order.
that is what the amendment says. you could have a state investigator, not even a sworn police officer, come in and say: your honor, i certify that this is relevant; give me the order. it seems to me as though the judge has much choice. we do it to fight terrorism on computers. how is a terrorist defined? we know what terrorism was at the trade towers. is a terrorist somebody who comes in and says: i want to come in armed and make a statement, carrying a legally registered, licensed weapon and make a statement: i should have an easier time to carry my guns? some people may feel terrorized. in my state, it would be routine. is it terrorist activity if somebody blocks a contractor who wants to tear down trees to open up a development and have sent e-mails to their friends about this? is that terrorist activity? it is easy to define terrorism.
it says, however, if you come in from wherever and say you are the private investigator hired by the contractor, you say: hey, i certify this, give me the order, and you get it. fine, if that is what we want. i would be a little bit concerned about our own rights as americans.
mr. levin. mr. president, i have one question i want to ask, perhaps, of my friend from arizona.
the presiding officer. the senator from michigan.
mr. levin. i have not had a chance to read this language until tonight. i guess that is part of the problem. it also is clear this is going to be adopted. i want to ask one question for the record.
this amendment goes beyond changes in the wiretap law as it relates to terrorism; is that correct? the language is ``any ongoing criminal investigation.''
mr. hatch. that is correct.
mr. levin. so it is broader than terrorism. i am not debating merits plus or minus. i am trying to understand what is in it since it came to me for the first time tonight. i want to be very clear, at least the way i read this, that this is not something that is just limited to counterterrorism, about which i think all of us would have a passion.
mr. hatch. will the senator yield?
mr. levin. yes.
mr. hatch. the wiretapping provision is a broad investigational authority. it is not limited just to terrorism, but, currently, terrorism is not included in that authority. it is one of the defects in our system. all we are trying to do is get it included so we can find these people, and we can do it. even so, before being granted wiretapping authority, you have to make a case, before a federal judge, that you have probable cause to believe that the subject of the wire-tapping order has committed a serious criminal offense.
mr. levin. if my friend will yield further, i understand we want to make sure terrorism is included in our statutes.
mr. hatch. right.
mr. levin. this amends, though, our statutes. i am not arguing the pros and cons. it amends not just terrorism, but it amends the wiretap law and all criminal activity, including terrorism; is that correct?
mr. hatch. it adds terrorism to title iii. in addition, it upgrades wiretap laws to include computer terrorism, cyberterrorism, even right down to illegal hacking.
mr. levin. but it does not relate.
mr. hatch. because those offenses are not currently covered in title iii, and we need to correct that defect or we cannot resolve these problems with regard to terrorism.
mr. levin. i tend to agree with our friends that we need to strengthen the law on that point. i want to be clear on one point: we are not adding terrorism to make sure we are covered. we are applying these new standards to all criminal activity, not just terrorism.
mr. hatch. that is correct, but keep in mind, our current laws are antiquated laws based upon telephones, where now we are in the area of cyberterrorism, and we must upgrade the laws to take care of that.
mr. levin. i make one request of my good friend from vermont, the chairman, because he has raised some important questions about making sure we take the time to know what we are doing. we are not going to have that time tonight. that is obvious. i express the hope, given the kind of points that have been made here, that it would be possible, before this comes
back in the form of a conference report, for there to be some review of some of these provisions by the judiciary committee.
the presiding officer. the senator from vermont.
mr. leahy. mr. president, we will try our best. we are, of course, under the same limitation as everybody else trying to get a lot of work done. i had planned in the next week or so to do a number of judicial hearings. i suppose we can spend the time doing this. it probably would make some sense.
we do not define terrorism, but we say we are adding that. i guess some kid who is scaring you with his computer could be a terrorist and you could go through the kid's house, his parents' business or anything else under this language; it is that broad.
again, the senate can vote for whatever it wants. i certainly hope we would put in, and i will support the money for the liability insurance. the problem, i suspect, is with several hundred million dollars. but if that is what we want, we should do it. let us make sure we know. i will try to get the time for people to work on this during the next couple of weeks to try to answer the questions.
the senator from michigan asks a legitimate one. we will set aside virtually everything else in the judiciary committee to get an answer. had i or our staff been asked about this, we probably could have had those answers, but i saw it about 30 minutes ago, about the same time the senator from michigan did.
i tell my friend from new hampshire who asked a question earlier, i have no objection to voting any time the senator from new hampshire desires to vote.
the presiding officer. the senator from nevada.
mr. reid. mr. president, we have had a very good debate on this amendment. we have had two people who feel very strongly about the issue explain very well their respective positions, and the chairman of the judiciary committee indicated he will hold further hearings on this. he is concerned about the way this amendment arrived.
the fact is, a lot of times legislation, as the senator from utah and the senator from vermont know better than i,
they both having served here longer than i, sometimes ends up this way.
i hope we can get rid of this amendment at the earliest possible date. it is my understanding the proponents of the amendment have agreed to accept a voice vote. it is clear this amendment will be agreed to. when this bill goes to conference, the two veteran legislators who are managing this bill will be able to deal with some of the problems that have been raised tonight.
mr. hatch. will the senator yield? i ask unanimous consent that senator helms be added as a cosponsor of the amendment.
the presiding officer. without objection, it is so ordered.
the presiding officer. if there is no further debate on the amendment, the question is on agreeing to amendment no. 1562.
the amendment (no. 1562) was agreed to.