Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Based on this Washington Post story, it looks like the "John Doe" amendment may have made it into the Homeland Security conference report:
The last obstacle was cleared when negotiators crafted language to satisfy a Republican demand giving immunity from lawsuits to people who report suspicious behavior.
One wonders how this language reads...and how this matter was ultimately resolved...who ultimately backed what...

UPDATE: Based on this NY Sun story, Rep. Pete King (R-NY) and Minority Leader Boehner are preparing an announcement for Wednesday:

The House Republican leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, and Rep. Peter King, a Republican of Long Island, said last night that they had reached agreement to include what has become known as the "John Doe" amendment in the final version of a major homeland security bill to implement the recommendations of the commission established to investigate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The bill is currently in a House-Senate conference committee, and a deal will be announced today.

But are there any trade-offs for this "deal"? We'll see tomorrow, I guess.

UPDATE 7/25: FOX News has more (H/T Hot Air). King and Boehner sound happy:

"This is a huge win — a hard-fought victory for House Republicans and, more importantly, for the American people," King said.

"In a post-9/11 reality, vigilance is essential to security. Despite the Democratic opposition to this important homeland security measure, I’m thrilled to announce that common sense has prevailed and heroic Americans who report suspicious activity will be protected from frivolous lawsuits. The American people were heard and our country is safer because of it."

Added Boehner: "I’m pleased that Democratic leaders finally decided to do the right thing and agreed with Republicans that we should be encouraging Americans to report potential terrorist activity to the proper authorities."

Sen. Lieberman (I-CT) also seemed instrumental in keeping this provision. While there still seems to be some level of uncertainty about the language of this measure, the FOX story does say that
House Democrats, led by Mississippi's Bennie Thompson, sought changes in the immunity language but ultimately were overwhelmed by the Lieberman-GOP coalition on the conference committee.
So does that mean that no changes were made to language of the amendment?

UPDATE 7/25: CQ has more of the details of the measure:
A Republican aide to the House Homeland Security Committee said compromise language on the measure would give civil immunity to “good-faith” informants of terrorist activity, using the definition of such activity contained in a House bill (HR 2291) introduced May 14.

King had said that Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., House Homeland Security Committee chairman, wanted to apply the provision only to federal claims, excluding claims in state and local courts. Republican aides said that the compromise language would apply to local, state and federal courts.

The liability shield would be retroactive to November 2006, which is when the incident in Minneapolis occurred.

UPDATE 7/25: Some specifics on the language of the amendment via the Washington Times:
"Any person who, in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, makes or causes to be made, a voluntary report of covered activity to an authorized official shall be immune from civil liability under federal, state and local law for such report," the conference language says.