Making New Jersey Safer from Terrorism and Holding Terrorist States Acountable
- Port Security: Congress passed into law Senator Lautenberg’s amendment to the 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill to require that all federal port security grants be allocated entirely on the basis of risk. (109th Congress, Senate Amendment No. 1197, adopted on July 14, 2005) All federal port security grants are now risk-based (109th Congress, H.R. 4954).
Senator Lautenberg also wrote the law requiring 100 percent security screening of U.S.-bound cargo containers before they are shipped to our ports (109th Congress, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee amendment to S.2459/H.R. 4954, became Public Law 109-347).
- Chemical Plant Security: Senator Lautenberg wrote the law to preserve New Jersey’s strong chemical security laws and allow them to be stronger than federal regulations. The Lautenberg law prevented the Bush Administration from moving forward with its proposal to preempt and nullify New Jersey’s strong chemical security laws. Lautenberg’s legislation was included in the FY2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill (Public Law No 110-161).
- Aviation Security: Senator Lautenberg wrote into law provisions removing an arbitrary nationwide cap on baggage screeners, to allow the Transportation Security Administration to hire more screeners for Newark-Liberty Airport. (Public Law No 110-53)
Senator Lautenberg joins family members of victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing in the U.S. Capitol to announce a final resolution of their claims against the Libyan government. After a 20-year fight to get justice from Libya, Lautenberg and the families succeeded when Libya made its final settlement payments last month. Pictured from left are Kathleen Flynn, Kara Weipz and Glenn and Carole Johnson, all who lost loved ones in the bombing, and Doug Rosenthal, an attorney who represented the families. (November 20, 2008)
- Terrorist Access to Guns: After Senator Lautenberg exposed that the Bush Administration was blocking law enforcement from retrieving data about gun purchases by people on the terrorist watch list, the Department of Justice changed its policies, and now provides information to law enforcement when suspected terrorists purchase weapons.
- Justice for Victims of Terrorism: In 1996, Senator Lautenberg wrote a law that allowed victims of terrorism to bring legal action against foreign governments that sponsor terrorist acts (Public Law No. 104-208). In 2000, he sponsored legislation that helped the Flatow and Duker families of New Jersey recover damages owed by Iran. (Public Law No. 106-386 § 2002)
Senator Lautenberg then wrote a law early in 2008 to strengthen the rights of terrorism victims to sue state sponsors of terrorism and go after their hidden commercial assets for compensation. The Lautenberg law was included in the FY2008 Department of Defense Authorization bill (110th Congress, Senate Amendment No. 2251 accepted on 9/26/2007 to H.R. 1585, later H.R. 4986, now Public Law No. 110-181). This law was widely credited with bringing Libya to the negotiating table to resolve legal claims.
Senator Lautenberg then sponsored the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, a new law that implemented a final settlement agreement and resolved all outstanding U.S. terrorism claims against Libya, including the amount owed by Libya for the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270, including 38 from New Jersey, the 1986 Labelle discotheque bombing in Berlin, Germany which killed two and injured approximately 90 Americans, and other U.S. deaths and injuries in pending cases (110th Congress, S. 3370, now Public Law 110-301).
On August 14, 2008, the new settlement agreement was signed by both countries and on October 31, 2008, Libya deposited into a U.S. account the amounts it owed to settle cases brought by U.S. terror victims. By December 2008, the Pan Am and Labelle Disco bombing families were paid.
- No Foreign Aid for Terror States: Senator Lautenberg was a prime author of laws banning foreign aid to countries that sponsor terrorism (Public Law No. 101-513).