- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 23, 2001

What's now …
Although the CIA was caught off guard by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, the intelligence agency had known and warned for some time about the deadly strike strategies of Osama bin Laden and anti-American militants of his ilk.
"The kind of thinking that asks: How can I negate the overwhelming military force of the United States? The kind of thinking that leads a terrorist group to seek a chemical or biological weapon. The kind of thinking that could lead a small nuclear power to blackmail us not with the possibility of defeat, but with the threatened destruction of one of our cities," CIA Director George J. Tenet told a Town Hall of Los Angeles meeting last Dec. 7, painting for his audience a psychological terrorist profile that 10 months later became all too real.
"Today, Americans must recognize that ours is a world without front lines," Mr. Tenet warned that day. "That the continental United States and not just our embassies and forces abroad is itself susceptible to attack. And that the potential method of assault goes well beyond a terrorist with a truck full of conventional explosives."
Unfortunately, none of the nation's elected officials seemed to be listening when Mr. Tenet who some wanted fired after last month's attacks concluded "why we in the intelligence community believe that the chances for unpleasant even deadly surprise are greater now than at any time since the end of the Second World War."

and what's to come
The Bush administration, including CIA Director George J. Tenet, has gone to great lengths in recent weeks to educate Americans on the difficulties of waging a worldwide war against terrorism an unprecedented, dangerous undertaking that Vice President Richard B. Cheney says may not end in our lifetime.
And if the present isn't enough to handle, the CIA is looking down the road to see what other obstacles might seriously impact U.S. security and stability 10 or 15 years hence, starting with population.
By 2015, says the CIA, there will be more than 7 billion people on earth a billion more than today. More than 95 percent of that growth will be in developing countries, which are least able to cope with the resulting pressures.
Then comes water, or lack of it. In a dozen years, nearly half of the world's population will live in so-called "water-stressed" areas, where fresh water is consumed faster than it can be replaced. The CIA says much of the water shortage will be in the Middle East, where it will add to the current tensions, as well as in Africa, East and South Asia, where it will complicate economic growth.
Finally, the CIA warns that emerging science and technology, which can be either tools for progress or weapons for evil, will only grow in capacity. Advances in the miniaturization of circuits, for one, hold the promise one day to permit the near duplication of human intelligence in machines.
"Imagine," remarked Mr. Tenet, "what a dictator might do with power like that."

Seal the borders
To help prevent future terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Congress is rushing to increase security along the nation's borders, which today are amazingly lopsided.
While the number of U.S. agents patrolling the nation's southern border with Mexico and the Caribbean has increased dramatically in recent years to 8,000, the number assigned to the 4,000-mile northern border with Canada has remained stagnant for the last decade numbering only 300.
Before adjourning last week because of the anthrax scare, Congress called on President Bush to immediately triple the number of U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U.S. Custom Service agents along the Canadian border, the U.S. entry point of choice for several of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and other militants.
Just six months ago, everybody had now better recall, Islamic militant Ahmed Ressam was convicted for bringing a car loaded with explosives into the United States, where he'd planned to bomb several millennium celebrations.
The 33-year-old Ressam was nabbed on Dec. 14, 1999, by U.S. Customs inspectors in Port Angeles, Wash., arriving by ferry from Canada.

Buy a ticket
Number of U.S. airline and aviation employees who have been laid off since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: 140,000.
Something to hold
The House of Representatives has passed a resolution that will provide U.S. Capitol-flown flags to each surviving victim and the family of each deceased victim, many of whose bodies will never be found of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The special resolution immediately went into effect, not requiring Senate approval or the signature of the president.

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