March 27, 2007

Flying Imams Shield Law Introduced in Congress [Update: PASSED!!!]

UPDATE: "Flying Imams Shield Law Passes"!!!!!!!!!!

The motion passed 304 to 121

Another UPDATE:
Bryan Preston reads my mind about the 121 who voted against, "closer than it ought to be." So, who voted against the bill?

A reader e-mails this link to the roll call: All 121 NOES are Democrats. Guess how CAIR's guy in Congress Kieth Ellison voted? [That's called a rhetorical question, for those of you in Rio Linda]

Other nay votes? The usual suspects
Waters
Kucinich
Sanchez
Harman
Jackson
Jackson-Lee
Kennedy
Nadler
Conyers
Rangel....etc.

Shuster says in a press release, "This is a big victory for all Americans. No American should ever be sued because they tried to stop a terrorist act. No American should be forced to second guess a decision to alert authorities that could save the lives of others. Unfortunately, the recent lawsuit filed by the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seeks to do just that."

Awesome. Freaking. Oh!
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UPDATE II: Thanks to Michelle Malkin--who has the text of the press release I quote above, and now has a cool pic up-- and Scott at Powerline, I learn that the Washington Times has the story [Story has been updated to reflect vote]:

House Republicans today surprised Democrats with a procedural vote to protect public-transportation passengers from being sued if they report suspicious activity -- the first step by lawmakers to protect "John Doe" airline travelers already targeted in a lawsuit by Muslim imams that charges profiling.

The introduction of a motion to recommit the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 back to committee with instructions to add the protective language was introduced by Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.....

The amendment is retroactive to activities that took place on or after Nov. 20, 2006 -- the date of the Minneapolis incident, and authorizes courts to award attorneys' fees to defendants with immunity.

Note to Michelle, Audrey, and Scott: "The Flying Imams Shield Law" is so much better than "Protecting John Doe Act" ;-p

Update within-an-update: Like peas in a podcast, Goldstein and Ace.

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Begin original post

House Republicans are proposing an amendment that would protect innocent Americans who report potential terrorist activity aboard various forms of public transportation by shielding such Americans against frivolous lawsuits. The amendment is being voted on as we speak. I call it, 'The Flying Imams Shield Law". In fact, that is exactly what it is.

The amendment is modeled after another bill sponsored by Rep. Stevan Pearce and Bill Shuster, and the leadership is running with it. Big time. Here is the text of a G.O.P leader alert that just went out, below. I'm neither a member of the Republican party nor am I a leader, but thank you to the reader who forwarded it to me.

This shield law is very important in the war on terror. It's the nature of law enforcement that most actions start with a tip. A good many of those tips turn out to be nothing at all. But in order to find out if a citizens' tip is simply a misunderstanding or the lead that stops the next 9/11 from happening, law enforcement must be free to investigate without interference from 'civil rights' groups such as CAIR.

Further, citizens like you and me must be able to forward our suspicions to the FBI and other law enforcement authorities without fear of harassment. Lawsuits against whistleblowers only discourage the kind of information from you and me that the FBI needs to combat terrorism. The kind of information Jawa Report readers regularly forward to them, especially information we collect about jihadi websites from terrorist groups.

UPDATE: Bonus video added below--Sout al-Kuffar's Flight Club: Being Naughty on a Plane. Scroll to the bottom.

Here it is:

"FLYING IMAMS" INCIDENT SPARKS GOP EFFORTS TO PROTECT AMERICANS WHO REPORT POTENTIAL TERRORIST ACTIVITY

March 27, 2007

Responding to widespread public outrage about last November's infamous "flying Imams" incident aboard a domestic airline flight, House Republicans today will offer a proposal that would protect innocent Americans who report potential terrorist activity aboard various forms of public transportation by shielding such Americans against frivolous lawsuits.

Modeled after legislation authored by Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), the Republican measure seeks to prevent innocent Americans from being wrongly discouraged against reporting potential terrorist activity. The measure would grant immunity from civil liability to both passengers and employees of surface transportation carriers who report suspicious behavior and potential terrorist activity to authorities in good faith. The measure, to be offered as the Republican motion-to-recommit (MTR) on H.R. 1401, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act (H.R. 1401), covers reports of potential threats to transportation systems and passenger safety and security associated with all modes of surface transportation.

Background:

In November 2006, six Islamic leaders were removed from a U.S. Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix after they were observed acting suspiciously - including not sitting in their assigned seats, asking for seatbelt extenders although not needing them, making anti-American statements, and other suspicious behaviors. Earlier this month, these individuals filed suit against the passengers who reported the suspicious behavior.

The Threat:

The "flying Imams" incident has raised the disturbing possibility that frivolous lawsuits could have a chilling effect on the free flow of information that is critical in the post-9/11 world. Passenger vigilance is essential to our security; and the passengers who report such incidents in good faith should be the subjects of praise and appreciation, not frivolous lawsuits.

The GOP Solution:

By passing a specific grant of immunity that covers passengers reporting suspicious activity in good faith, Republicans will prevent special-interest lawyers from using "creative" legal theories to attack the well-meaning passengers who make reports. The motion:

* Grants immunity from civil liability to any person that voluntarily reports suspicious activity that could be a threat to transportation security.
* Provides attorneys fees for defendants victimized by frivolous lawsuits.
* Is retroactive to activities that took place on or after November 20, 2006 - the date of the Minneapolis incident, and authorizes courts to award attorneys fees to defendants with immunity.

It is important to remember that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and transportation systems nationwide (subways, railways, buses) rightfully urge passengers to report anything suspicious. Law enforcement agencies across the country have "tip lines" to report suspicious activity.

Republican Leader Press Office

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

H-204, The Capitol

(202) 225-4000

http://republicanleader.house.gov/

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A classic Sout al-Kuffar production

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:59 PM | Comments |