According to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate intelligence committees, this nation and its citizens are more susceptible to terrorist attacks today than they were a year or two ago.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Roberts, R-Mich., said there are more terrorist groups today who want to harm America and Americans and that it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify and halt these efforts because of the sophistication of new, deadly devices. Also, they noted there probably are more smaller terrorist organizations operating independently but with connections to al-Qaida. These smaller groups are likely to focus more on small terrorist events rather than larger attacks, consequently making it “exponentially harder for our intelligence services to stop an event,” according to Rep. Rogers.
It is good that Feinstein and Rogers are leveling with the American public. There is no way to guarantee the safety and protection of our cities and citizens, and this should reinforce the public’s support of strong, effective anti-terrorism efforts.
The big question is just how exhaustive and how far government agencies should be allowed to go to keep track of the activities and lifestyles of American citizens? Not necessarily just American citizens but all those living in the U.S.
Where do freedoms conflict with security efforts to protect the country? This is the question that exploded when details about spying efforts by the National Security Agency were made public.
As noted above, it is almost impossible to stop all terrorist efforts here in the U.S. It’s likely the public would be amazed to learn of the number of terrorist plots that have been foiled by our intelligence efforts, but it’s almost certain there will be more attacks. Our borders are easy to cross; our coastline is open; ships of all sizes and kinds enter our seaport; and those who live in this country are free to move about wherever they wish.
Federal, state and local officials have done a superior job of protecting this country, and, as noted above, it is good that Feinstein and Rogers have alerted the public about the severity of the situation.
Maybe we’ve just been lucky there have not been more successful terrorist attacks in the U.S., but as the old adage points out, “luck favors the prepared mind.”
Uncle Sam must remain even more alert with a prepared mind if this nation is to be able to foil the almost-sure-to-come terrorist efforts.