Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 9, 2005 / 2 Sivan, 5765

Judge Richard Posner has the most intelligent things to say about intelligence in the age of terror

By Bob Tyrrell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Judge Richard A. Posner was in town for a public appearance the other night, and as he is a leading candidate for the title World's Foremost Authority, I thought I would stop by the famous old Willard Hotel to see what he had to say about the 9/11 Commission Report and its legislative by-product, the Intelligence Report Act. Supposedly the legislation improves the capacity of our intelligence community in this time of terror attacks worldwide. Posner, a federal judge and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, writes on a broad range of public matters.

He writes beautifully on issues that do not invite elegant prose and with a powerful analytical mind. Often he comes to conclusions with which I do not agree. For instance in his book on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, he reviewed the law and the transgressions of the culprit, concluding that Clinton could be impeached but should not to be. Well, Judge, I was with you part of the way.

Now he was in Washington to discuss his most recent book, "Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11," which is part of a promising series of brief books that the Hoover Institution is publishing on pressing political, economic and social issues.

As usual Posner's approach reminds me of another brilliant, if unconventional, policy scholar — the late Edward Banfield. Banfield, a Harvard government professor of two decades back, employed vast learning and a skeptical intelligence to arrive at conclusions that ended up being commonsensical, and thus, to his fellow scholars, deeply disturbing.


BUY THE BOOK
Does this book sound intriguing?

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

On the 9/11 Commission's findings and the consequent legislation, Posner's most optimistic judgment is that the legislation is hazy. It leaves the president and intelligence reformers much room in which to revise the commission's recommendations, and they had better use all the room available because they will need it to improve intelligence. His additional judgment is very much like one Banfield might render, to wit, there is no "solution" to the intelligence problem. Surprise attacks are by their nature surprising. While we attempt to thwart the next 9/11, the terrorists are working on something new. Will the intelligence community anticipate it and prevent it? That is hard to say, though we had better try.

"The commission's report," Posner writes, "mentions only in passing the greater potential threat posed by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists or enemy states. Deadly pathogens, lethal gases, and even small atomic bombs can be fabricated almost anywhere in the world and, because of their small size, delivered surreptitiously to the United States and activated by a small number of terrorists or foreign agents." Posner goes on: "An active program of foreign intelligence of unprecedented scope and technological sophistication is needed — and more: a program that can anticipate technological surprises in the form of new, more lethal weapons of mass destruction or means of delivering them."

Donate to JWR


As for the reforms in place, Posner is skeptical of their usefulness. Yet there is one reform that he seems to favor, though it is not now in place. The domestic intelligence function now in the hands of the FBI should be "carved out" and placed in a different authority. That new authority would operate as does the United Kingdom's Security Service (MI5). Unlike the FBI today, MI5 is not a police force vested with pursuing terrorists with the intent of prosecuting them. The prosecution of them is a distraction best left to a police force, namely the FBI. Such a reform, Posner agrees, creates civil liberties problems. Yet he believes the problems can be overcome for the good of prosecuting criminals and of gathering still more information on domestic terror plots. It has worked well in the UK and might work well here.

Posner makes the interesting point that the 9/11 Commission did not study intelligence gathering by other, possibly more seasoned, intelligence agencies in countries such as the UK and Israel. Nor did the 9/11 Commission avail itself sufficiently to the expertise of Americans with superior knowledge and experience in intelligence. He mentions the loss that the commission suffered when Henry Kissinger was barred as chairman, apparently for political reasons. His book is among the finest analyses of intelligence gathering and of intelligence reform I know of. It rests on an insight into intelligence that the historian Paul Johnson made years ago. Johnson's insight is useful to those who underestimate the difficulty of the topic.

Says Johnson: "Intelligence reports are like reading spy novels with the last chapter missing, because you never know what actually has happened in the end." To be sure, Posner is aware of the murkiness of intelligence. Readers of this book will become aware of the huge job ahead in the struggle against terrorists.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

Archives

© 2005, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles