- From the FP Situation Report: “The good news? Cyber-security threats are down at DOE. The bad: there are still a lot of them, reports Killer Apps’ John Reed: Although better cyber-security practices have reduced the number of reported vulnerabilities, “22 of those 38 vulnerabilities are brand-new while the remaining 16 went unresolved even after the inspector general noted them in 2011, according to a report released this month. This comes as the department has suffered nearly 3,000 cyber-related incidents’ over the last four years, according to the report.”
- Homeland Security once again warns us that a terrorist attack on the U.S. power grid could be more destructive than super storm Sandy, possibly costing hundreds of billions of dollars and leading to thousands of deaths, the National Academy of Sciences says. While such an event probably wouldn’t kill people immediately, it could cause widespread blackouts for weeks or months.
- In New Jersey an investigation by FBI along with the Bergen County Bomb Squad lead to the arrest of a 60-year-old doctor with ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has been charged with possessing a large amount of chemicals commonly used for making bombs and explosive devices, along with assault rifles and other weapons.
- Iran: Steve Emerson reports that “Iran may be capable of doubling the number of centrifuges dedicated to enriching uranium within days. This was reported by one of three diplomats from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in conjunction with the issuance of the latest IAEA Iranian Safeguards report issued Friday.“An additional 700 centrifuges are believed to have been installed at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant near Qum. That brings the total number of centrifuges at Fordow to nearly 2,800, which would mean nearly 1,400 in operation at a given time at the facility. Fordow was designed to hold approximately 3,000 centrifuges so it is now near its capacity and is buried deep inside a mountain, making it a particularly hardened target.” This not good news!
- Tablet Magazine’s Adam Chandler exposed one of the propaganda evils of the present deadly clash in Gaza. A photograph with a heart rendering image of a grieving father holding his dead child as mournful doctors look on helplessly was released via Twitter by Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigade. “It’s a dead child all right, but it took place in Syria, not Gaza, and had nothing to do with this week’s violence.” And the list of lying accepted by Western media goes on as reported by Steve Emerson: When Israeli troops entered the West Bank city of Jenin in 2002 to root out terrorists the reports of a “massacre” flowed immediately and true to form were accepted by western media. More than 1,000 people were reported killed the headlines proclaimed. In the end, the death toll was revised to 56. To make matters more unfortunate the Palestinians were caught faking funerals with corpses who weren’t dead yet. During Israel’s 2008-09 incursion into Gaza, reports claimed that a United Nations school building in Jabaliya was bombed, killing more than 40 people. It just didn’t happen. In a broad based attack on the media it has been claimed (by an influential member of the media) that two major networks one being cable (and not Fox) have shown a bias in its reporting building and enhancing the Hamas story.
[/column]Commentary: Domestic National Security
I am an admitted Francophile. I say that knowing that there is an endemic overabundance of anti-Semitism in that country. I also know, and can accept, that you may love your country and still be anti-Semitic. No one has ever said that you cannot intensely dislike the Pope and still be a very loyal American in a Christian nation. Still the thought is jarring.
Many years ago (and I had to retreat to my bookshelves looking for a particular hardback to see its date of publication), a book was published entitled The Left Bank, and being who I am, I rushed out to buy it. It was only then that I learned that the book detailed the role of intellectuals in France who not only utilized their extraordinary intellectual talent to embrace Germany and the Nazi solutions but actively helped and conspired to sway and move their own country into Hitler’s arms. I must say, upon reading the entire book, I was devastated. How could it be? Those individuals, with extraordinary talent, heightened and developed logic not merely educated but having their status embrace a cause as despicable as that flowing from the banners of the Nazis. I must admit that the contents of the book have stayed with me, as an annoying splinter, to this day. And it stays with me as I still wander the streets of Paris and see the little bronze markers attached to anonymous buildings that declare who had been murdered in that building by the invited invaders during the German occupation of France.
And today, so many years later, I am reading a historical spy novel that takes place in Paris during the days of Hitler’s annexations, the English government’s fatal political missteps and the fear of exiles in France, with none anticipating the eve of the crushing German army blitzkrieg. The author, Alan Furst, is a meticulous fact researcher and, there near the last quarter of the book is a short paragraph listing a few of those very famous persons in industry who more than collaborated with Hitler. Taittinger, Coty, Hennessy, the Michelin brothers, all names that we readily recognize. Who else, I thought? Which lead me on my own research: Who else in industry and those in the entertainment world in France, who were not German but sided with the Hitler in his march to power? I was not interested in those who collaborated after occupation but only those who facilitated the fall of the legitimate French government.
Then suddenly I asked how all of this fitted into the overarching subject matter of this blog? My response was that security begins not merely at the external borders of the United States, but with a “cold blooded” recognition that there are those who live among us, who sat beside us in grade school, who work in the next office to us and who are now not merely willing to participate but are actively engaged in the undermining of and seeking the ultimate destruction of their own constitutionally created government. What was true in France in the late thirty’s is true today in the United States.
How does one respond when you learn of a young American college woman in 2009 who disappears and then 18 months later rams a car full of explosives into a crowded street killing 28 people? She becomes the first American citizen to become a suicide bomber to act out her belief but not in the United States. Her acts, though, could have easily been translated into action within the States. The FBI has reported that young Somali-Americans in the mid-west have “vanished” only to learn that they have been recruited to start their journey to Somalia. In Somalia they joined a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaida. The question is clear: where do they exploit their new training, and the possible answer is in the United States. Suspected in the recruitment process are two local mosques. There was a similar terrorism case study that has played out near Buffalo, N.Y., known as the Lackawanna Six. Within the last week, Omar Shafik Hammami, formerly from Alabama, who is reportedly a senior leader in al Shabaab, an insurgency group in Somalia, has been placed on the FBI most wanted list. And today the FBI announced Four California residents are suspected of plotting to wage “violent jihad,” by joining forces with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. They were charged with plotting to provide material support to terrorists. Three of the four are naturalized US citizens one born in Afghanistan, one Philippines and one in Mexico. The third was born in the United States.
And then there are the white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations: the non-Jihadists. “Outside every major military installation, you will have at least two or three active neo-Nazi organizations actively trying to recruit on-duty personnel,” said T.J. Leyden, a former white power skinhead in the U.S. Marines who now conducts anti-extremism training. The truth of the matter is that since the WTC and Pentagon, attacks 19 civilians have been killed in “terrorist attacks” in Continental United States. These deaths were provoked by belief systems that are not connected to the world of Osama bin Laden. Nor can we forget Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the two main actors in The Oklahoma City bombing were from middle America These non-jihadist deaths were motivated by extreme anti-government views and extreme anti-Semitic/neo Nazi beliefs. None the less, and chillingly so these home-grown Americans are to be characterized as terrorist.
From a New America Foundation study, we learn that law enforcement appears to concentrate its investigations on those groups that can be defined as jihadists (‘“Jihadist” terrorists are defined in their database as those associated with or motivated by al Qaeda, or its affiliates or like-minded groups”) and thus overlook an equally dangerous groups within the United States that are just as as dangerous to our security. Nevertheless, 61% of the 337 people indicted for terrorism-related activities since the 9/11 attacks are jihadists, according to the New America Foundation data.
Not only our inherent nationwide prejudices but also the focal point of law enforcement is that the focus of our national security attention should be aimed at the “foreign” looking, speaking, religious individuals or groups in the United States from one region of the world. The facts speak otherwise and it appears the home-grown terrorist is no less a threat to our wellbeing. The conundrum is how best to secure our safety domestically without become a paranoid, oppressive society.