Thursday, January 20, 2005

Why the ridiculous Inauguration security? Poor intelligence and counterintelligence.

We should not be pleased by the super-intense security surrounding President Bush's second inauguration. We should be outraged.

The security people - the last line of defense of the president and the public - are doing a fantastic job. The overkill that's ruining some of the inaugural events isn't their fault. The security people are doing their jobs right.

But others aren't.

The security overkill has to be this way because of the poor state of our intelligence and counterintelligence services, the fact that we don't secure our own borders, and the ├╝berlegalistic way in which we ignore troublemakers in order to protect their "rights." Our first lines of defense have fallen, placing the burden on the last line.

We do not have a logical layered defense against terrorists. The president is trying to kill as many on the ground as he can, long before they reach us. But we still cannot stop terrorists abroad - or terrorist groups here at home - because we simply have not deployed the human, technological, legal and other resources to do so.

That's why the entire population has to be treated as potential terrorist threats - and like sheep most of the nation is going along with it.

There is some resistance. "Civil liberties" activists on the Left and libertarians on the Right have been fighting against laws and procedures that narrow the threat spectrum to the likeliest of targets, preferring instead to whine about being repressed, and either drag the entire nation through the increasingly costly and intrusive security nets, or to hold the nation hostage to the terrorists by extreme reaction to the new world we're in.

That type of resistance and criticism is misplaced.

Those same critics are the ones to blame for the deliberate uprooting in the 1970s of our domestic security capabilities that monitored just the troublemakers and their supporters. They also are guilty of spearheading the destruction of our foreign intelligence and our counterintelligence capabilities at that same period - and of creating a climate of fear within the services ever since.

Now all of us are subject to senseless surveillance and security procedures. It is time for a serious revolution in intelligence affairs, similar to the revolution in military affairs underway at the Pentagon. Our first line of defense shouldn't be our last.


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