OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

GOP Victory Protects Security Informants

March 28, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 passed the House yesterday, but not before a provision, staunchly opposed by the bill’s sponsor and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), was attached to it.

The provision is based on a bill introduced last week by Steve Pearce (R-NM). It protects citizens who report suspicious activity from lawsuits. The bill was introduced, largely, in response to an incident that took place earlier this year. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) describes the incident:

>Last November, six imams were removed from US Airways Flight 300 for what passengers described as threatening behavior. While on board, passengers reported that these men, who were traveling together, dispersed to seats throughout the plane in a formation reminiscent of the 9/11 hijackers and moved throughout the cabin to confer with one another. Additionally, they asked the flight crew for seatbelt extenders, which they then rolled up and kept under their seats for no apparent reason.

The six imams subsequently filed a lawsuit against the passengers who reported them. Pearce claims the imams are “using courts to terrorize Americans.”

Thompson objected to the provision on the House floor:

>Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, opposed the motion [to attach the informant protections] over loud objections from colleagues on the House floor, forcing several calls to order from the chair.

>"Absolutely they should have the ability to seek redress in a court of law," said Mr. Thompson, who suggested that protecting passengers from a lawsuit would encourage racial profiling.

>"This might be well-intended, but it has unintended consequences."

The Washington Times has a web-only article about the House proceedings and several right-leaning blogs (i.e. Michelle Malkin, The Jawa Report, and Hot Air.) have lauded this as “a big victory for all Americans.”

Left-leaning media outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post give no mention to this significant Republican victory.

If you think this deserves more discussion, feel free to use the comments section.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.