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Posted: 12/19/2001 5:58:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2001 5:56:41 AM EDT by Ghettoblaster]
[url]http://www.newsok.com/cgi-bin/show_article?ID=798764&pic=none&TP=getarticle[/url] State can pass anti-terrorism laws, AG says 2001-12-18 By Ron Jenkins Associated Press Writer OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma can pass laws to fight terrorists but could run afoul of federal law by investigating student nationals or restricting their access to college, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Tuesday. Edmondson, addressing the Homeland Security Task Force, said the state can criminalize activities of terrorist groups and seize their property, just as property of drug pushers is now confiscated. He said colleges and flight schools cannot be required to report to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation the status of student foreign nationals, but the OSBI could find out basic information about the students from the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service. He said the state also can require that citizenship information be displayed on driver's licenses. Edmondson was asked to review state and federal laws on how the state can track and investigate student nationals who might be involved in terrorism. He said the question of whether the OSBI can conduct background investigations on student nationals needs more research. Interviews could raise constitutional questions, Edmondson said. Sujet Shenoi, University of Tulsa professor who teaches a course on cyber terrorism, said he has been concerned for years that a foreign national could take his course and use the information against the United States. Edmondson said it would be possible to have "reasonable" restrictions on who can take such courses if the restrictions apply to everyone and are not based on someone's nationality. Sen. Dick Wilkerson, D-Atwood, said he was concerned about "training people who are going to hurt us." Wilkerson said a simple OSBI background check might not turn up useful information to fight terrorism. Those involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington would have passed state background checks because they did not have criminal records, the senator said. Ken Levit, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa president, said giving students security clearances could be enormously expensive. Levit, chairman of the security task force, is former special counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency. Shenoi outlined a pessimistic view of being able to prevent cyber terrorism during the age of information technology. The committee also heard from Albert Ashwood, director of the Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management, who called for a system of training local fire departments and law enforcement agencies to respond to terrorist attacks.
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