While President Clinton is prodding Congress to quickly pass more anti-terrorism legislation, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is complaining that the administration has not yet implemented key provisions Congress passed three months ago.
Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote Vice President Al Gore on Thursday asking the administration to begin vigorously implementing them now.He noted, for example, that the administration has yet to identify terrorist groups to allow freezing their financial assets, which the new law permits.
"Not a single terrorist group has been identified pursuant to the terms of the act, nor has the Clinton administration frozen the assets of any terrorist group," Hatch wrote.
"Nor has a single terrorist alien been deported pursuant to the terrorist alien removal provisions.
"Nor is the administration . . . complying with provisions requiring the mandatory detentions of most deportable criminal aliens pending deportation; many of these criminal aliens are simply being released onto America's streets," Hatch wrote.
Hatch complained that Clinton threatened to veto the earlier anti-terrorism bill if such provision were not included, but he has not yet implemented them.
He also complained to Gore - who has been asked to head a study into aviation security in the wake of the TWA Flight 800 explosion - that the administration has been slow to spend money appropriated to the FBI to enhance counter-terrorism, and has been slow to deploy effective anti-terror equip-ment and procedures at airports.
"Of $239 million appropriated to the FBI for enhanced counter-terrorism initiatives, only $58 million has been spent." Worse, Hatch said, is that the Justice Department asked "to spend $17 million of these terrorism funds on food service for the FBI Academy, cars, laptop computers and travel."
Hatch added, "Congress has responded to the terrorist threat with dispatch in the past and will endeavor to do so again. Yet, Congress cannot implement aviation security measures. Nor can Congress use the terrorism act's powers to designate terrorist groups or freeze their assets.
"These are responsibilities of the executive branch," Hatch wrote.