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Keep the King Amendment! By: Frank J Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, July 19, 2007


Fresh from their all-night effort to force surrender on the U.S. military in Iraq, some Democrats on Capitol Hill appear intent on using the dark-of-night (figuratively, if not literally) to another, grievous misdeed: Trying to eliminate one of the most important anti-terror provisions adopted by Congress since 9/11.  This legislation is the so-called “King amendment,” which is designed to ensure that public-spirited citizens are not discouraged, let alone penalized, for doing their civic duty by informing the authorities of activities that could be associated with terrorism.

As the brilliant former counterterrorism prosecutor and legal analyst Andy McCarthy observed in a posting on National Review Online today, the King amendment’s opponents in the congressional leadership understand that the overwhelming, bipartisan support for this legislation in the House and Senate leave them few options. 

In fact, as a practical matter, the only way they could dispose of a provision which was initiated by the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Pete King of New York, after the insidious Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) brought suit against several “John Does” and adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 304-121 would be to snuff it in a conference committee. Word on the Hill is that it could be attempted TODAY.

Such a gambit should be made more difficult by the inclusion of similar language in the Senate version of what has come to be called the “9/11 Bill,” thanks to strong support in that chamber from, among others, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and his ranking minority member, Susan Collins of Maine.  Still, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants are reportedly hoping to use a technicality – the fact that the King amendment was to a railroad security bill rather than the 9/11 bill – to strip it from the conference report.  By so doing, the minority of the House that voted against the King amendment and that is made up of most radical left-wing members of their caucus would have the last word, to the delight of their Islamist friends at CAIR.

Making such a point of order would, of course mean that a similar objection could be registered to every other aspect of the railroad legislation – which includes a number of provisions near-and-dear to the hearts of Democrats, as well as Republicans on the conference committee.  Unless, that is, no one is paying attention and the dastardly deed can be accomplished behind closed doors and out of the glare the public’s eye.

Thanks to Andy McCarthy for raising the alarm.  Every one of us who understands the indispensable role alert private citizens can – and must – play in protecting the American people from future terrorist attacks should immediately contact Speaker Pelosi’s office (202-225-4965), their own congressional representatives and their favorite talk radio show hosts and bloggers.  The message should be clear:  Enact the King amendment – because our lives, literally, depend upon it.


Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.


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