Saw this at The Next Left, and thought I'd share. It looks like it was the Republicans that opposed doing anything related to terrorism during the 1990s. They rejected President Clinton's request for greater authority to use wiretapping, and prominent Republican Senator Orin Hatch called it a "phony issue." Here is the article from July 30, 1996:
President Wants Senate To Hurry With New Laws
(CNN) -- President Clinton urged Congress Tuesday to act swiftly in developing anti-terrorism legislation before its August recess.
"We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorism issue," Clinton said during a White House news conference.
But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, doubted that the Senate would rush to action before they recess this weekend. The Senate needs to study all the options, he said, and trying to get it done in the next three days would be tough.
One key GOP senator was more critical, calling a proposed study of chemical markers in explosives "a phony issue."
Taggants value disputed
Clinton said he knew there was Republican opposition to his proposal on explosive taggants, but it should not be allowed to block the provisions on which both parties agree.
"What I urge them to do is to be explicit about their disagreement, but don't let it overcome the areas of agreement," he said.
The president emphasized coming to terms on specific areas of disagreement would help move the legislation along. The president stressed it's important to get the legislation out before the weekend's recess, especially following the bombing of Centennial Olympic Park and the crash of TWA Flight 800.
"The most important thing right now is that they get the best, strongest bill they can out -- that they give us as much help as they can," he said.
Hatch blasts 'phony' issues
Republican leaders earlier met with White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta for about an hour in response to the president's call for "the very best ideas" for fighting terrorism.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerged from the meeting and said, "These are very controversial provisions that the White House wants. Some they're not going to get."
Hatch called Clinton's proposed study of taggants -- chemical markers in explosives that could help track terrorists -- "a phony issue."
"If they want to, they can study the thing" already, Hatch asserted. He also said he had some problems with the president's proposals to expand wiretapping.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said it is a mistake if Congress leaves town without addressing anti-terrorism legislation. Daschle is expected to hold a special meeting on the matter Wednesday with Congressional leaders.
Also remember that when President Clinton ordered the bombings of Osama Bin Laden's training facilities in Afghanistan in 1998, the Republcians said that, too, was a phony issue. They claimed at the time that President Clinton ordered the attacks strictly to distract attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Like everything else relating to foreign policy, the Republicans were wrong.