- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Reducing drama

Perhaps morale is in need of a boost at the Environmental Protection Agency or so we gather from the "Attitude Adjustment" workshop to be held at the agency Sept. 24.

"Attend this 'Attitude Adjustment' Workshop. It will change your point of view," the EPA tells its bureaucrats via memo this week. "You will learn to:

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•"Challenge your belief system

•"Think before you speak

•"Manage conflict to effectively reduce drama

•"Accept the differences in others (cultural, racial, class, sexual


Says one EPA official who forwarded us the memo: "Do we love Big Brother yet?"

We're our enemy

One of the most knowledgeable U.S. intelligence experts, whom this columnist has turned to for the past two decades, is W. Raymond Wannall, retired assistant director of the FBI who headed its intelligence division.

Mr. Wannall was responsible for all FBI operations surrounding intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, security and espionage. He also served as the FBI's representative on the United States Intelligence Board, frequently testifying on Capitol Hill.

This week, Mr. Wannall handed us the article he's just written for the Fall 2002 International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, titled "Undermining Counterintelligence Capability," especially relating to post-September 11.

The historical record during the past three decades, he begins, shows clearly that the United States' retrenchment in intelligence and foreign counterintelligence operations has been extensive.

"During that time," he charges, "the U.S. intelligence community has been under constant siege in a concentrated and admittedly successful attack by its enemies at home, let alone abroad. Since the 1970s, the intelligence community had largely failed to receive support, from both executive and legislative branches, and from the public-at-large, for its work, particularly in the realm of combatting domestic subversion and terrorism.

"Proponents of civil liberties, on both the political left and right, had generally been able to control the media dialogue in ways inimical to the FBI," Mr. Wannall continues. "Had that not been the case, the intelligence community might have been able to give a forewarning to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon."

Mr. Wannall says that although "an arguable proposition, the fact remains that intelligence, often described as the nation's first line of defense, has itself been placed in an almost indefensible position by its critics."

Northern exposure

Former Canadian Ambassador James Bissett says Canada's asylum laws would not typically be of concern to the United States, but adds that after the terrorist attacks of September 11, things have changed.

"Canada has the most generous asylum system of any country in the world," Mr. Bissett acknowledges of our neighbor to the north. "The lack of an effective pre-screening mechanism enables almost 100 percent of claimants to receive a formal hearing with free legal advice. No other country has a higher approval rate. Moreover, once on Canadian soil, few asylum-seekers are sent home, even when found not to be genuine refugees."

Mr. Bissett, who was also executive director of Canada's Immigration Service from 1985 to 1990, says that although none of the September 11 terrorists came from Canada, the existence of terrorist cells there has been "well-documented." The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service identifies more than 50 terrorist organizations operating in the country.

U.S. intelligence authorities, in fact, won't soon forget December 1999, when Ahmed Ressam, a Canadian asylum-seeker from Algeria who hadn't bothered to show up for his refugee hearing, was apprehended attempting to enter the United States from Canada with a trunk load of explosives in his car. Although at trial prosecutors did not try to prove specific targets, Ressam is thought to have planned an attack on Los Angeles International Airport.

Mr. Bissett, along with William Sheppit, immigration counselor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, will appear at the National Press Club tomorrow to discuss Canadian asylum laws and the resulting risk to the United States.

Joining arms

Exactly 13 months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, on Oct. 11, the Christian Coalition of America will convene in Washington for a so-called coming together of political and spiritual arms: a "God Bless America One Nation Under God" conference.

"After September 11, 'God bless America' was on everyone's lips," recalls Roberta Combs, president of the coalition. "But if we want God's blessings, we must return to the Judeo-Christian values that made America great that guided us through war and peace, depression and prosperity."

Elder hunk

Earlier this week, we observed that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is described in the current issue of AARP's Modern Maturity as "Elder Cool." They're not kidding.

"Donald Rumsfeld, 'Elder Cool,' indeed! Be still, my elder heart!" says Cara Lyons Lege, one of dozens of readers to write. "I put down the dish rag, spray wax, or whatever to watch his news conferences. Uh-huh!"

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