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Protecting John Doe

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 14, 2007 03:15 PM

A John Doe bill has just been introduced in Congress:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Stevan Pearce, along with Rep. Peter King and Rep. Bill Shuster, introduced a bill today that would protect those who come forward to report suspicious activity from frivolous civil liability prosecution.

If passed, the bill, known commonly as the ‘John Doe’ protection legislation, would grant immunity to anyone who alerted transportation security to actions believed to be threatening or to any personnel that “takes reasonable action to mitigate such activity.”

“We cannot have Americans thinking twice when it comes matters of national security,” said Congressman Pearce. “If a passenger sees something threatening, they should report it immediately and do so without the specter of potential prosecution hanging over their head.”

“Alert Americans are often our first and last line of defense in protecting the country from terrorist attacks. They should not face potential prosecution for doing the right thing and coming forward to report suspicious activity.
“It is a sad commentary that this kind of common sense has to be written into law, but we must make it clear to America’s enemies that they can not exploit our system of justice.”

On Friday, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, along with Senator John Kyl, introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“I appreciate the effort of Senators Collins, Kyl and Lieberman to move this initiative forward,” said Pearce. “Their leadership will be crucial to address this pressing matter of national security. We expect the same kind of bipartisan support for this legislation in the Senate that we found here in the House.”
In addition, the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee Peter King said: “In a post-9/11 reality, passenger vigilance is essential to security. If we fail to protect passengers that report suspicious behavior, it would be a huge victory for terrorists. It is terrific news that Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins have thrown their weight behind this important measure. If we expect the 9/11 bill to be meaningful, substantive homeland security legislation, the ‘John Doe’ protections for passengers must remain a part of it.”

Rep. Shuster commented: “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 other. This legislation will protect vigilant American against the threat of punitive and frivolous lawsuits whose only objective is to chill public involvement in the War on Terror when we need it most. I applaud Rep. Pearce and Rep. King for their leadership in spearheading this legislation with me.”

Hat tip: Debra Burlingame, who writes:

House/Senate Republicans launch “John Doe” protection. This is critical legislation in the fight war on terror here at home. Whether they are airline passengers, subway riders, or, in the case of the “Fort Dix Six,” a retail store clerk, we owe them protection for stepping up and reporting suspicious behavior. They should not have to worry about getting sued if they “see something, and say something.”

9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America thanks Congressmen Pearce, King and Shuster, and Senators Collins, Kyl and Lieberman for leading the way.

Watch this bill closely. Keep an eye on who supports and who opposes it. This will tell you much.

***
Previous:

John Doe in the Ft. Dix Six case is a teenage hero
The John Doe at Circuit City
John Doe at Dallas Love Field
The John Doe manifesto
House GOP strikes back
AIFD; Powerline
I’m John Doe buttons
Protect John Doe
Katherine Kersten reports
Becket Fund
The Jersey Jihadists–and more on the John Doe hero; another John Doe tipped off authorities separately; Gaffney: Congress must protect John Does
Terrorist plot in Cherry Hill, NJ; illegal aliens among alleged plotters;
a John Doe turned them in; press conference at 2:30pm Eastern;
Fort Dix has been a refuge for ethnic Albanians; details from the complaint;
Dix responds

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