Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tiptoeing in Search of a National Security Strategy

I think the two videos below provide a striking --- if not frightening --- contrast between top-level thinking at the White House and the realities of the terrorist threat inside America's borders. At the first clip, John Brennan, President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, announced yesterday "that the term 'jihadists' should not be used to describe America's enemies." And below is a Fox News report on "a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico."

It just keeps coming, the news of increasing suspected terrorist activity in the U.S. And this is after the recent bombing attempts on Christmas Day and in Times Square. Something's going to happen, that's for sure. We've been lucky so far that no one's been killed during the recent attempts. Of course, it's not reassuring that as we see increasing signs of violent jihad at home, the administration continues to downgrade the threat and neuter our ability to respond. See Steve Schippert, "No Islamists, No Jihad: New Obama National Security Strategy 'Focuses' On Domestic Terror."

Plus at LAT, "
U.S. Looks at Ways to Head Off Home-Grown Extremism":
After more than a dozen home-grown terrorist plots involving American Muslims since President Obama took office, the administration is moving to step up its scattershot efforts to counter domestic radicalism, prompting a debate over the proper role of government in addressing ideological threats.

Unlike Britain and other countries in Europe, the U.S. government does not have a national strategy to combat Islamic extremism, and no single agency in the vast American national security and intelligence bureaucracy is in charge of understanding and addressing the home-grown threat.

But since the Times Square bombing attempt this month, officials have begun to plan ways to ramp up.

On May 13, an advisory commission led by former FBI and CIA Director William Webster presented Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with recommendations designed to boost her department's efforts against domestic violent extremism of all sorts. The recommendations are carefully worded and do not specify Muslims or Islam. They focus on community-based policing, under which the Homeland Security Department would step up training and information-sharing programs with local law enforcement.

Administration officials said other responses also were being discussed, including drawing lessons from Britain and other countries in Europe.

The National Security Council six months ago convened a policy committee to examine what some call "counter-radicalization" efforts. The council has met twice with the president on the issue, according to a senior administration official involved in the effort.

Still, the idea of the government playing a role in countering radicalization provokes uneasiness among both U.S. officials and civil liberties activists, who recall a legacy of abuses in the 1950s and '60s in the pursuit of communists and leftists.

Much of the government's counter-terrorism apparatus consists of law enforcement agencies that now see their mission as investigating threats, crimes and conspiracies — not radical ideas that, however loathsome, are protected by the Constitution.
Well, we wouldn't want to alienate our "moderate" Muslim citizens, you know, the ones who're constantly demonstrating in protest of creeping Islamization in the Western democracies. (Not!)

More at
the link (FWIW).