Issues 2004 – Homeland Security

Jeff laid out his views on homeland security in his third post on Issues 2004.

I don’t disagree with much of what Jeff has to say on this subject. It’s strange that we essentially agree about homeland security but disagree so fundamentally about Iraq which was pitched as something we needed to do to make us safer at home.

I would like Bush/Cheney to take back the tacit accusation that a vote for Kerry is a vote for Al Qaeda and the rest of the terrorists because its nonsense. No president, no matter how stupid (and I don’t believe Kerry is stupid), or how liberal (and I don’t think Kerry is nearly as liberal as the Bush machine has made him out to be), would do anything to make us less secure. We have enormous investments in intelligence, security, and monitoring and they will only get increased under whomever runs this country for the next four years. Until Bush/Cheney acknowledges that fact, its really hard to have an intelligent debate about this issue. It’s like my kids when they start bickering, you can’t get back to a reasoned discussion.

Unlike Jeff, however, I do have an issue with the “Patriot” Act. We are a country that relishes our freedoms and civil liberties. The Bush Administration used 9/11 to put through a huge reduction in both our freedom and civil liberties. It’s way overdone and dangerous. You’d think we’d all learn the lessons from doing things like imprisoning the innocent Japanse Americans in World War II. But we don’t. We just keep making the same mistakes again and again.

I would focus more of our efforts on intelligence and I mean spies. People who will infiltrate the terrorists and neuter them. That’s how we beat the Mafia. And that’s how we’ll beat the terrorists. It won’t happen overnight, but done right with the proper investment of resources, training, and patience, it will happen.

Porter Gross, the nominee for the new CIA Director and a former spy, has said as much in his assessment of what’s needed to improve our intelligence systems.

Finally, I think we need to maintain multiple intelligence agencies. The Pentagon should have its intelligence. The State Department should have its intelligence. The Justice Department should have its intelligence. We shouldn’t merge it all into one single intelligence organization. We should, however, have some central coordinating role. I think that’s what the job of the National Security Advisor should be. The President needs to have a strong and well respected person in that job who can enforce coordination and communication among these different organizations.