Colorado Senator Ken Salazar today voted along with his democratic colleagues to block a provision which would have provided protection from lawsuit for those who report potential terrorists. See how they voted here.
Salazar voted to block the King amendment to the 9/11 security bill. The King amendment would have limited immunity to citizens who report to law enforcement what they believe to be terrorist activities from being sued by those who they report. It was proposed in response to an incident last November when six imams of Middle Eastern origin were removed from a US Airways flight after passengers reported suspicious activities by these men. The imams, in turn, have filed suit against the passengers who reported their activities to the flight crew:
Their lawsuit charges that the imams were victims of an “intentional” and “malicious” . . . “conspiracy to discriminate” and seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the airline and “John Doe” passengers – including an elderly couple who, according to legal papers, “purposely turned around to watch them” in the boarding area and then “made a cellular phone call.”
Without this legislation, ordinary citizens who report suspcious activities (this means you and me) will continue to be subject to lawsuits for doing what we have all been told to do in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks – don’t sit passively by, but report what seems to us not right. We have been told that citizen tips are the first line of defense in the war against terrorism. Senator Salazar and his democratic colleagues obviously don’t believe that, since they don’t feel the need to protect us from lawsuits like that instituted by the “flying imams”, which intimidate ordinary citizens from making reports.
This is really an unacceptable position for our junior Senator to take, but he is now just part of the democratic voting block, not the maverick moderate he portayed himself as in the 2004 election.