Guest Editorial
George A. Ross

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Homeland insecurity

By George A. Ross | February 10, 2010

george a. rossDoes anyone remember why the United States Government created the Department of Homeland Security? It was ostensibly designed to coordinate and integrate the intelligence information collected by the CIA, FBI and NSA under the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

The OIA, working for Homeland Security is supposed to fuse the intelligence gathered concerning terrorism with law-enforcement agencies. They were also tasked to secure all modes of transportation within and entering into the United States. Also lumped under this department are FEMA, ICE, TSA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard. Over 200,000 people make up this agency, the third largest federal department. All of this was necessary because over the past 35 years the executive and legislative branches of our government kept erecting barriers between the intelligence agencies which precluded the sharing of information. Starting with Senator Frank Church and his committee in 1975, the legislature forced the Ford administration to restrict CIA human intelligence gathering and restricted the sharing of this intelligence between the CIA and the FBI. These restrictions were exacerbated by the Director of Central Intelligence, Admiral Stanfield Turner 1977-1981, a member of the Carter administration. He further reduced human intelligence gathering at the CIA and relied more on signal intelligence. The decline in intelligence gathering and coordination continued when in the mid 1990s Congressman Robert Torrecelli, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, convinced the Clinton administration to impede the CIA’s ability to recruit spies. (This was a fall out of the Iran/Contra fiasco). Ergo; 9-11. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

And, what has the Department of Homeland Security given us? They have provided a bloated, over-budgeted government agency which continues to have failures with dire consequences. Rather than breaking down the barriers created over the past 35 years, our Federal Government created another agency. So let’s see: an individual, 23 year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, who is on a watch list, is provided with unencumbered passage to the United States while Great Britain will not grant him a visa. His father, a wealthy Nigerian Banker and Government Official, advises the American Embassy in Nigeria that he is concerned about the radicalization of his son by an Islamic extremist cleric in Yemen. He bought a one way ticket with cash and had no luggage. Remember, we just suffered the Fort Hood killings by a radicalized doctor, U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who had been communicating with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen. This is the same cleric, Anwar al-Aulaki, who was involved with five of the 9-11 terrorists. Don’t forget the USS Cole. She was attacked in 2000 which resulted in the killing of 17 sailors in Yemen, a country in chaos. It is where al-Qaeda currently is creating infrastructure for major terrorist activity. The Department of Homeland Security can’t seem to connect the dots. What is needed is to go back and eliminate the barriers that prevented the coordination of intelligence information. All of these agencies should be lean and able to respond quickly.

There needs to be a streamlining of this entire process. The heads of all agencies must be held personally accountable for their agency’s failures. “Thinking outside the box” is imperative; this will only occur when the proper atmosphere exists throughout the intelligence communities. We are being out- thought and out-maneuvered by a group of radical religious fanatics operating with laptops and cell phones in caves, tents and hovels in Third World Countries. The central sources of support for these 13th century minded radicals are Iran and Saudi Arabia. Why? We cannot admit who is at war with us; political correctness and self interest rules. We are not at war, they are at war.

What can we do? First and foremost identify the problem. We are under attack from a radicalized element of Islam who, consider this a religious war. We need to recognize this conflict as a war against western civilization. It is a war – not a law enforcement problem. At the airports we are looking for a “needle in a haystack.” We need to separate the needle from the haystack. That means profiling. It also means we need a National Identity Card with a photo and some biometrics. Utilize high technology personnel and cargo screening devices. Use security cameras with recognition software wherever there is public transportation. I recommend using a system similar to that used at Disney World and Disney Land where vast numbers of people are processed quickly, efficiently and politely. Compare that to the TSA operation at the airports. Data bases exist to do this. Understand, there is no perfect process; what we are attempting to do is narrow the field. Stay on the offensive and be unpredictable – this is a war. Seek these radicals out wherever they are and destroy them. Lastly, we need to get the American people, all of the American people in the fight. This means universal conscription and personal sacrifices.

Political correctness, self interest and petty problems will sink our ship of state. The security of our nation should be the foremost issue concerning the federal government. The next time the terrorists strike we may not be as lucky as we were this time. And, there will be a next time. Wake up America; the barbarians are at the gate.