A Dearth of Defense and Possible Disaster

Paul  Weyrich
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Posted: Aug 16, 2006 12:01 AM

I was listening to the Chris Core show on WMAL radio on Thursday when the terrorist plot to blow up at least 10 airliners en route from Great Britain to the United States was the hot topic of the day. A pilot called in on his way to fly out of Reagan National Airport. The pilot said if the terrorists had been on this side of the Atlantic, and thus the aircraft to blow up were to have originated in Washington or New York or Chicago, he wasn't at all sure we would have stopped the plot. That call sent shivers up and down my spine. He may well be right.

We have become victims of political correctness to the point that we have tied our own hands in handling cases such as this. The British use profiling, for example. We do not. We do not because various Arab-American groups complained to high heaven that profiling was discrimination against them. I am sorry. 100% of the people who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and would have destroyed the Capitol if some brave passengers had not revolted in Pennsylvania were Muslims. Likewise the 25 men arrested in Great Britain and Pakistan who were involved in the plot to blow up thousands of people were Muslims. I attend a church whose roots are in the Middle East. I know and love my Arab brethren. But to be inconvenienced a bit if they happen to fit the profile of a terrorist then so be it if they are questioned until it is determined that they are not a terrorist. Mistakes will be made. Feelings will be hurt. But it is far better that we hurt someone's feelings than if an airplane blows up with 300 innocent victims aboard.

The British pulled off this rather spectacular bit of police work by infiltrating the organization. The infiltrator was doing his work for the past seven months. He kept Scotland Yard and M I 5 appraised as to what was going on. Exactly how this infiltrator gained the trust of the conspirators is not known. It should not be known. Had the plot been in the United States the NEW YORK TIMES would send 30 reporters to find out how we obtained the intelligence so they could expose it and thus assure that it never would be used again. Hopefully the British press will have more loyalty to their country that our media has here.

Speaking of loyalty, Great Britain has over two million Muslims now living there. Some are native. Others came as refugees. A survey was taken of the Moslem community by a British newspaper. 92% of British citizens who profess the Moslem Faith say they are Moslems first and British citizens second. That is compared with France, where the Moslem population has been causing a great deal of trouble of late, 46% consider themselves Frenchmen first and Moslems second. 54%, a tight majority, consider themselves Moslems first and Frenchmen second. British citizens are asking themselves how it is that they have extended hospitality and even citizenship to two million Moslems, that these people have enjoyed the fruits of a peaceful society and freedom to operate, and yet they put their faith ahead of their citizenship. It is true that when it comes to identifying candidates to run for high office, I often say that I am a Christian first, an American second, a conservative third and a Republican only fourth. But there is no doubt that if I were asked that I would say that I am a proud American. I love this country or at least what it was. I do not love what it is becoming.

Now that the terrorists have been caught in London it will not take them long to figure out that they might have succeeded had they plotted here rather than there. During the Clinton Administration virtually all efforts to infiltrate groups were eliminated. When the George W. Bush Administration came in it found the cupboard bare. The Bush Administration began to recruit and train people who are capable of gaining the trust of the terrorists so that at the critical moment they could be stopped. It is a long process. A former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), James Woolsey, told me it takes at least twelve years to develop a cadre of people who are trained and ready for such action. The Bush Administration is closing out its sixth year. So even after it will have finished eight years in office it will take another similar Administration with the same goals before such a cadre is ready and operative. If the nation were to elect a President who does not believe in infiltration, as President William J. Clinton did not, the work of the past eight years would go down the drain. That is what happened following eight years of Presidents Ronald W. Reagan and four of George Herbert Walker Bush. When Reagan came into office he also found the cupboard bare. President Jimmy Carter had destroyed much of the infrastructure of the CIA and what was left was highly regulated by the Congress. Reagan and Bush, a former CIA Director himself, slowly re-built the intelligence effort to the point where at the end of the Bush '41 Administration, things were back in order. Then came Clinton. President Clinton did not believe in human intelligence. He believed that you get get all the information you needed to know by satellites. But satellites cannot infiltrate meetings. Satellites cannot win the confidence of terrorists so that at the proper time they can prevent the plot to kill us. That is the real danger.

Given the unpopularity of the President and the likelihood that the Republican Congress will be hung out to dry that will set things up for a change at the Presidential level as well. If that change were Joseph I. Lieberman or someone who understood what it takes to run a good intelligence operation it would not bother me. If the change represented the MoveOn.org wing of the Democratic Party, which will be dedicated again to doing away with spying, we would be back to the same situation again.

I hope the Presidential candidates will stress that when they vote. This should be an issue in 2008. If we throw our intelligence away, such as it is at this point, then there is the likelihood that the terrorists will plot their strategy here. There will be no agent to infiltrate the group. Instead of the triumph of police work which we saw last Thursday we would end up with finger pointing and the loss of countless lives because there would have been no one to infiltrate the terrorist groups. This has got be an issue in 2008. If the candidates do not make it one conservative groups should make it an issue. The same for missile defense. A team B group of experts has now concluded that the entire nation, even Alaska and Hawaii, could be defended for around $30 billion via a space-based defense program known as Brilliant Pebbles. More on this later but suffice it to say that it must be an issue in 2008 that at present the United States is not being defended. Senators and Congressmen must be asked why they do not favor defending us. The left will scream that we do not want weapons in space. But this is a totally defensive system. If Russia and China don't like it they can be invited to build their own. This will be the great moral issue of our time and combined with the need for good intelligence the issue can reveal all you need to know about Presidential candidates of both parties. God save the Republic.