Homeland Security

Transatlantic body scanners

Remember? It was the US government that asked the EU to install full-body scanners across Europe after 9/11. But while the EU still doubts the installation of the devices, the United States has meanwhile taken the lead and currently deploys approximately 385 security scanners in 68 US airports. The numbers are expected to rise in the years to come and by 2014 the US authorities aim to deploy 1800 devices in airports across the country.


A much needed shot in the arm for U.S. civilian power

Last May, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen wrote a candid letter to the Congressional leadership to express his support of continued funding for diplomatic and development initiatives through the International Affairs budget. The letter was capped by a personal note in the Admiral’s distinctive handwriting: “The more significant the cuts, the longer military operations will take, and the more and more lives are at risk!”


Statement on WikiLeaks’ unauthorized disclosure of sensitive, classified documents (Rep. Adam Schiff)

I deplore the potentially treasonous disclosure of classified and sensitive national security information, and urge the Department of Justice to bring any responsible party to justice. I also condemn the ongoing WikiLeaks release of a quarter million diplomatic documents, which will cause immeasurable harm to our diplomatic efforts, and worst of all, may expose our sources of information to great danger.


Afghanistan: Destroying their property and insulting their intelligence (Rep. Lynn Woolsey)

The trip taken by the U.S. delegation to the NATO Summit in Lisbon was an expensive one indeed. The decision made there to extend our military occupation of Afghanistan into 2014 (and possibly beyond) will exact untold, unsustainable, unacceptable costs. 
A war that has tragically already cost us 1,400 American lives will now take many hundreds more. A war that has already drained the treasury of $370 billion will drive us further into debt and stall our economic recovery. And a war that has undermined our national security goals will continue to make us less safe.


Ghailani trial: Misguided and dangerous (Rep. Pete Olson)

When the administration announced its plans to try Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) detainees in federal civilian court instead of a military tribunal, the American public was assured by Attorney General Eric Holder that "failure is not an option." He was proven wrong last week when a jury in New York City acquitted Ahmed Ghailani of all but one of 285 counts in connection with the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. His sole conviction was for "conspiracy to destroy American property" in the 1998 Embassy bombings.


Chicago bomb plot: International cooperation is not cost free

International cooperation is key in fighting international terrorism – this has been a theme of U.S. government counterterrorism statements and talking for decades.

This concept was underscored by the thwarting two weeks ago of a terrorist plot to ship two bomb-laden packages to the United States, with the apparent intention of blowing them up over an American city or upon delivery to Jewish institutions in Chicago. The plot prompted the US government today to impose a ban on cargo shipments from Yemen.


Federal building security: The hole in America’s homeland security safety net

Have you ever imagined smuggling a bomb into a federal building? Congress’ investigative arm, the Governmental Accountability Office has. Government investigators not only smuggled bomb components past private security guards and into ten high security federal buildings, they also assembled and transported the bombs throughout the buildings and exited undisturbed.  These stunning failures spotlight the continuing vulnerability of even the highest security federal buildings in the nation.  It is very possibly the largest hole in our nation' homeland security safety net.


The road to victory in the war on terror passes through Riyadh

The recently foiled terror plot that uncovered two bombs aboard airplanes headed for Chicago underscores al-Qaeda’s ongoing determination to strike at American targets. How the plot was discovered reflects an equally important reality: Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of Washington’s most important allies in the war on terror, a vital player in the worldwide fight against Islamic extremists.

Saudi Arabia provided the key intelligence that unraveled the plot – from the intent of the bombers to the tracking numbers on the packages. Were it not for that vital Saudi tip, Americans may have experienced the most devastating terrorist attack on its soil since the 9/11 tragedy.


Enemies among us: Domestic radicalization rises with exclusion

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, we have expected extremists to come from “over there.” But recently, the number of incidents involving home-grown Islamic extremists has spiked. While we might instinctively look to the federal government to protect us from enemies, whether foreign or domestic, the solution to this challenge does not lie simply in better policy, better intelligence, or more police officers. The solution for containing domestic radicalization lies in the hands of the American people and the society we create.