- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As a former naval intelligence officer on a high-level staff, I agree with President Obama that the breach of security associated with the attempted Christmas Day bombing was “totally unacceptable.” The warning signs were there, but the U.S. Intelligence Community failed to recognize, analyze and disseminate the information. This is the same type of failure that led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the Fort Hood massacre.

Although only a small percentage of Middle East inhabitants are terrorists, almost all terrorists come from Middle Eastern countries. We have to pay much more attention to travelers to the United States from the Middle East and a few countries in other regions, and our Department of Homeland Security must work with foreign airports to beef up their security operations. We need many more intelligence officials who are proficient in Arabic and can penetrate al Qaeda networks in various countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Unfortunately, the George W. Bush administration transferred a number of Yemeni terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back to Yemen, and at least one of them was involved in planning for the attack on the Detroit-bound airliner. Mr. Obama wants to close the detention center at Guantanamo and transfer the terrorists to the U.S. mainland for prosecution. Will those terrorists be convicted of their crimes? Will they be executed? If not, how long will they stay in prison? We should not take chances with hard-core terrorists. Let’s keep them in Guantanamo.

We need Mr. Obama to stop appeasing the leaders of countries that sponsor terrorism, including Iran, Syria and Somalia. He also has to cease bowing to the leaders of other countries and appearing subservient to them. Terrorists construe these actions as signs of weakness, which inspire them to attack us.

Mr. Obama weakened the CIA and intelligence agencies in general when he criticized the CIA for its interrogation techniques. Although some of those techniques might be unacceptable to the world community, we have to be able somehow to access information from captured terrorists. I believe the recent failures of our intelligence agencies to provide warnings of potential terrorist activities are partially attributable to some apathy and lack of initiative within the Intelligence Community, and Mr. Obama bears some responsibility for the climate of distrust among intelligence officials.

In addition, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is not qualified for that position. We need a professional intelligence/security person in that critical spot. Unfortunately, most high-level federal positions, including Cabinet positions, go to unqualified politicians as payback for supporting the president during the campaign.

We are less safe on Mr. Obama’s watch, and we are susceptible to ongoing terrorist attacks because of an appeasing and apologetic president, an incompetent Homeland Security secretary and weakened intelligence agencies.

DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ

Londonderry, N.H.

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