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Jewish World Review June 11, 2002 / 1 Tamuz, 5762

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
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Intelligence coup, with much more to do | Finally, the intelligence community gets a gold star. Its diligent work has led to the detention of Abdullah al Mujahir (formerly known as Jose Padilla), 32, an American citizen who had become an al Qaeda operative. Al Mujahir had been living in the Middle East since '98 and was working as an al Qaeda operative with plans to detonate a radioactive bomb in the U.S. Another charming convert to Islam. He was stopped while returning to the U.S. on May 8th, after intelligence officials were alerted to his connection to al Qaeda by former OBL henchman Abu Zubaydah.

No surprise that questions are already being raised by the usual suspects about the Bush Administration's decision to classify al Mujahir as an "enemy combatant" rather than charging him as a regular criminal suspect. This put al Mujahir in military custody and means he can be held indefinitely. Wails of protest are no doubt forthcoming from the ACLU which will demand that he be "officially charged," allowed to speak immediately with an attorney, meet with family members, get a massage etc. Aw come on, let's just set him free and hope for the best!

So far we know that al Qaeda was successful in recruiting at least two Americans--John Walker Lindh and now al Mujahir. How many more discontented, recent Muslim converts have answered al Qaeda's call? Who knows. But it shows us once again how important it is that we put real teeth into our intelligence gathering. The streamlining of security responsibilities in a new Homeland Security Department could be a really positive move--but not unless the old bureaucratic mindset is scrapped, too.

For decades, the bureaucrats in charge of aviation security at the Department of Transportation allowed cargo holds of commercial airlines to go unscreened and unchecked for explosive devices. And since 9/11 that hasn't changed! What stops a package carrying a bomb from exploding on an airline today? Virtually nothing, since cargo packages big and small go virtually unscreened, according to a new DOT Inspector General draft report. We have yet another hole to plug in aviation security. Add it to the growing "To Do" list of the Department of Homeland Security--which will probably not be up and running until January at the earliest.

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JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a radio show syndicated nationally by Westwood One Radio Network. Comment by clicking here.

06/07/02: The Bush administration's foul ball
05/30/02: Post-feminism in the aftermath of 9-11
05/23/02: The press gunning for Ashcroft
05/19/02: El Jefe basks in Carter's Light
05/15/02: Former presidents who don't understand the word "former"
05/07/02: Ozzy deified, many mortified, drugs glorified?
05/01/02: Bush: "California here I come ... sort of"
04/27/02: The good news about conservatives versus Bush
04/17/02: While the cat's away....
04/09/02: Preview of 2004: See how Dick runs!
01/29/02: A kinder, gentler human-rights violator?
11/27/01: Military tribunals provide streamlined justice
09/07/01: Scariest animal wears pants
08/17/01: Depressed after seeing uncut version of Apocalypse Now --- and for good reason
07/20/01: The other, maybe more important, news
06/22/01: Washington's pro-Bono worship is unnerving
06/01/01: Burying conservatism
05/17/01: Ashcroft's abuse of power

© 2002, Laura Ingraham