Homeland Security

Bringing Osama to the sea: The president must provide conclusive evidence of bin Laden’s death

The first reports of Osama bin Laden’s death told us that he was buried within 24 hours of his death, and "at sea,” because “finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most [notorious] terrorist would have been difficult.” So we would assume there would be physical evidence of the death if there is no body. That would presumably be photographic identification or DNA evidence. During the Vietnam War, the military on the ground was notoriously unreliable about physical evidence in combat.

Because if I have this right, “the sea” is at least 800 miles from the Abbottabad region of Pakistan where reports say bin Laden was killed. How did they get him from there to the sea? Did they drop him out of an airplane or travel by land convoy 800 miles with the six-and-a-half-foot corpse? Then other reports said the body was delivered to Afghanistan. Did they bring him to Afghanistan and then bring him to the sea? That would have been more than a thousand miles to haul the corpse.

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RID — the poster child of terror

Dead at last. Dead at last. Thank God almighty.

The most wanted terrorist in the world is now rotting away in dust. Due to an American “military action,” we got our man.

A special debt of gratitude goes out to the men and women in uniform for their tireless months and years of sacrifice — running this pestilence down and eradicating him. Predator drones finished what others started on 9/12. We didn’t wait. We couldn’t wait. Too many Americans lost their lives that fateful day. It might have taken years to bring this to pass, but it did occur. And now justice has been served. 

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Obama wins, Osama dead

Osama bin Laden is dead. Stay tuned for news from Tripoli.

I couldn't resist a 2 a.m. visit to the grounds outside the White House as flags were waving and Americans were cheering the killing, none too soon, of Osama bin Laden.

It was a victory for President Obama, a victory for our heroic men and women in uniform, a victory for the American people and good people everywhere.

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Terrorist tweets

Have you tweeted today? Or ever? I bet you have used Facebook today. As a country we fall in love with the unbridled technological progress that the great minds of our country afford us. It can do so much good for us — it connects us with long-lost friends, family and otherwise. It allows us to stay up to date, up to the minute in some instances, of events around the corner and around the world. All of this is absolutely fantastic when it helps us out, but we are often remiss in our consideration of the negative ramifications of these very same advances.

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Obama's Cuba problem

As 2010 rapidly closes, I can’t help but notice how the Obama administration tried to quietly slip past the media and the general public a recent declassified report on the current status of detainees formerly held at Guantanamo Bay.

You’ll recall then-candidate Obama made it a top priority of his campaign that he would seek to close Gitmo. Then, once assuming the office of commander in chief, someone in the White House had the boneheaded idea that maybe we should charter a plane for these terrorists and try them in a domestic court.

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Time to let Homeland panel run DHS

Incoming House Republican Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has been blazing a path for reform, particularly at the committee level, denying some who felt it was their “turn” to chair a panel when clearly they were the wrong choice for the post, then structuring them with an eye toward true bipartisan input.
 
Yet there is one committee that continues to be hamstrung by jurisdictional politics and old habits that die hard. I’m referring to the Homeland Security Committee and the simple fact that it must share jurisdictional control over the department.

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Wiki III — the lesson of the event

A week has passed since the release of voluminous government records by WikiLeaks, and since the subsequent reportage of most of it in the world press. So far, the sky has not fallen. Commentators have taken sides—some calling the release treasonous, others defending it for informing the public about serious matters.

After all the sound and fury, an important lesson should be learned. Who controls the narrative, the flow and timing of information, controls (and may manipulate) the “truth.” Now government controls information about how it governs, to a reckless degree. Five national commissions studied our classification procedures in the last half-century, and all concluded that most — up to 90 percent — of the information classified confidential should not have been. Those commissions were nonpartisan, non-political, well-informed. The last was chaired by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

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We have the technology, should we use it?

The debate over TSA scanners and pat-downs reminds me of the debate over instituting instant replay in football. The football purists argued replay would slow down the game, and some went so far to say that refereeing mistakes were part of football. The supporters of instant replay countered that the most important job of the referees is to get the call right. Instant replay would clean up mistakes due to human error, and making sure we got the call right was worth stopping the game for a couple of minutes. I view the debate over the new TSA procedures in similar terms. Critics of the procedures argue Americans' privacy rights are being violated. Meanwhile, proponents of the procedures point out that any discomfort passengers might feel should be massively outweighed by the fact that they'll arrive at their destination in one piece. Discomfort to
passengers is worth the improved security, just like stopping a game to look at an instant replay is worth getting the call right.

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Pat-down or potential death?

You had to imagine it was coming. After weeks of complaints the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been receiving, one incident that occurred over the weekend involving a man who had survived cancer suggests the new guidelines for screening air passengers have gone too far.

The scene in question involved a Michigan man flying out of the Detroit airport, but because of a urostomy bag attached to his bladder, when the passenger was aggressively patted down, urine spilled onto his clothes.

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Enhanced pat-downs and latex gloves — how often do screeners change them?

Anyone who has visited a fast food joint, a doctor’s office or a hospital has watched as workers change gloves between servings or exams. And if they don’t, the customer/patient would surely say something.

How often do the TSA agents doing the “enhanced pat-downs” change gloves? And would most cowed flyers who just want to make it through security and advance to their gate ask them to do so? Or would passengers fear that such a request would invite more enhanced scrutiny?

Until lately I viewed the gloves as protection for the TSA workers, but with the raft of stories about changes to TSA security methods — one on the front page of The New York Times featuring a photo of woman being patted down whose expression screams “I’d rather be anywhere but here” — I started wondering about the possibility of screeners passing everything from bedbugs to skin infections from one passenger to another. The woman in the Times photo is being touched over her blouse, but there are other complaints. Local TV news has found a sure-fire crowd pleaser that may push “If it bleeds it leads” off the top of the show.

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