Cal  Thomas

Probably more vigilance and money are being devoted to protecting Thursday's inauguration of President Bush from terrorists than have been dedicated to any public event on U.S. soil in history.

But what if it isn't enough? Suppose - God forbid - an Islamic terror cell buried deep within this country for years has been given the code it has been waiting for to conduct the most public assassination of American public officials.

No one will be able to claim we weren't warned, or defend against the charge that we deluded ourselves with political correctness, inattention and bureaucratic rivalries.

The Fox broadcast network is carrying a remarkable series called "24," which brilliantly and persuasively warns America about a secret terrorist family that has been embedded in this country for years. The family blends into a quiet neighborhood until the call to action is sounded and the secretary of defense is kidnapped and threatened with beheading.

Just how effective this fictitious show could be in awakening docile Americans to reality is evident from the reaction by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which asked Fox to send public relations spots to stations carrying the show. The spots say that all Muslims are not terrorists. All Muslims don't have to be terrorists. The ones who are and who are among us are sufficient to bring more death and damage to this country.

One of the most compelling and urgently needed books I have read on terrorism in America was just published. Its title sums up the contents: "Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States." The author is Harvey Kushner, Ph.D., who has consulted for the FBI, FAA, INS, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Department of Probation.

Kushner contends that our government and media are not doing enough to protect us. One example: The immigration process is still so flawed that even those applicants who testify to having committed terrorist acts are allowed into the country because the FBI doesn't cooperate with immigration officials.

Insult was added to that injury last week when it was revealed that the FBI is on the verge of scrapping a $170 million computer overhaul the agency said was critical in the war against terrorism. The computers don't work. The bureau will pay a research firm $2 million to discover what's wrong and see if it can be fixed.

Adding ludicrous to stupid, The New York Times reported some veteran agents are resisting the transition to computers because they favor pens and pads.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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