More to fighting terror than deporting Arabs What others say

Posted: Monday, August 04, 2003

The U.S. House and Senate intelligence committees have provided a great public service by meticulously documenting U.S. intelligence failures prior to the 9/11 attacks. Released last week, the joint committee report suggests that better cooperation and risk assessment by the nation's intelligence agencies may have prevented the terrorist hijackings. Rather than making excuses or taking political cover, the White House now should make sure that those failures aren't repeated.

The report raises critical issues. Does the administration have a clear, global counter-terrorist strategy that is widely understood, adequately resourced and in place in all pertinent areas of government? Are the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and other key intelligence operations now sharing information, collaborating on counter-terrorist action and focusing on the right priorities? Are the turf battles, information silos and bureaucratic protocol that hindered al Qaeda's pursuit prior to 9/11 now history?

We're not persuaded that they are yet. Rather than using intelligence to identify and focus on credible terrorist suspects, too many post-9/11 security measures have broadly targeted immigrant communities. Thus, thousands of Middle Easterners have been deported for immigration violations, those communities fear cooperating with law enforcement and major resources have been diverted from real terrorist threats. ...

The Miami Herald, July 29

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