Thursday, July 29, 2010

Press needs to realize terrorists not the only threat

Today a must-read Wall Street Journal editorial explained the extent to which press freedom constitutes an ever-present threat to our national security. Pointing to the recent unauthorized release of secret US government documents by Wikileaks, the paper explained that by continuing to exercise its freedom, "the press will put its own freedom in jeopardy."  

True enough.  But to their credit, the WSJ's editors took the occasion to remind us that threats to national security extend far beyond terrorism: 
 But the closer we and others have looked at the documents, it's clear that the WikiLeaks dump does reveal a great deal about the military's methods, sources, tactics and protocols of communication. Such details are of little interest to the public at large, and they are unlikely to change many minds about the conduct, or wisdom, of the war. But they are of considerable interest to America's avowed enemies and strategic competitors such as Russia and China.
It is important to realize that the terrorists are by no means the only threat that America faces.

In the interests of national security, DoF Secretary Malcolm P. Stag echoed the Wall Street Journal editors in comments at a press conference this morning:

"'Freedom of the press' must be balanced against the 'risks of the press'," said SecFear.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Terrorists monitoring Gulf of Mexico oil spill response?

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a tragedy.  But imagine how much worse it might be next time should terrorists have an opportunity to study the impact and scope of the present disaster.    At this moment, terrorist cells may be seeking information concerning the operations of America's disaster-response capabilities.

Fortunately, our friends at Homeland Security have partnered with local law enforcement agencies and some private security firms contracted by British Petroleum.  Together, public and private security forces are keeping a vigilant eye out for suspicious activity in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico coastline.   Overly curious or suspicious people are being stopped and questioned.  Raw Story (via 10%):
The photographer, Lance Rosenfield, said that shortly after arriving in town, he was confronted by a BP security officer, local police and a man who identified himself as an agent of the Department of Homeland Security. He was released after the police reviewed the pictures he had taken on Friday and recorded his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. The police officer then turned that information over to the BP security guard under what he said was standard procedure.
In the wake of the recent natural disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, America's public and private security personnel must balance the freedom of the public to move about and photograph things against some vital national security interests.    In these dangerous times, the latter has to be given a lot more weight.

Preventing terrorist conquest of North Africa

North African Islamist militants linked to al-Qaida are reportedly building heavily fortified bunkers in the Sahara Desert against airstrikes as Algeria and its neighbors mount a combined offensive against them.

Security authorities in Algeria and Mali, its southern neighbor, have reported construction work in their territories. Fortifications are also being built along the border with Niger, east of Mali.
The potential terrorist conquest of North Africa is a real and growing national security concern.

DoF urges the president to initiate predator drone strikes against various locations in Mali, Algeria, and Niger -- anywhere terrorists are suspected of hiding.   Although such measures will certainly not eliminate the threat, it will bring the war to the terrorists.    To paraphrase the former vice president: if we fight them over there, maybe we won't have to fight them here.