Skip to comments.Bush plan to defend America from terror
Posted on 07/17/2002 12:22:02 PM PDT by Wright Winger
Until yesterday senior Pentagon officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, had denied repeatedly that they planned to ask Congress to overturn, or bypass, the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, a fundamental piece of legislation that sharply restricts the militarys ability to participate in domestic law enforcement. But now the Administration argues for a thorough review of the law an initiative that will add to the problems that the strategy faces in Congress.
The initiative, announced by the President in the White House Rose Garden, also calls for federal security features on state driving licences, and increased inspection of the 16 million shipping containers that enter American ports every year.
Protecting Americans from attack is our most urgent national priority and we must act on that priority, Mr Bush declared. This comprehensive plan outlines clear lines of authority and clear responsibilities.
The plan, parts of which face a stormy reception in Congress, relies heavily on science and technology to help to prevent a new wave of terrorism in the US, including the catastrophic threats of nuclear attack, radiological dirty bombs and biological and chemical weapons.
It calls for research on new vaccines, the creation of biometric travel documents for foreigners that contain scans of physical features and the development of screening tools to predict human behaviour. The use of sensors should be greatly expanded to detect nuclear and radiological devices at borders, ports and main highways. It also calls for the first thorough inventory of the countrys critical infrastructure, including highways, pipelines, agriculture, the internet and energy plants, and a secret plan to protect it.
The document begins with an acknowledgment of the difficulty of defining terrorism. Terrorism is not so much a system of belief . . . as it is a means of attack. Thus domestic attacks, such as Timothy McVeighs 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, and the September 11 attacks should both be treated as terrorism which brings the plan to one of its most contentious points: the use of the US military to counter domestic threats.
Until yesterday senior Pentagon officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, had denied repeatedly that they planned to ask Congress to overturn, or bypass, the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, a fundamental piece of legislation that sharply restricts the militarys ability to participate in domestic law enforcement.
But now the Administration argues for a thorough review of the law an initiative that will add to the problems that the strategy faces in Congress.
Already, the key to implementing the plan the proposed Department of Homeland Security, announced last month after the exposure of intelligence lapses before September 11 has faced congressional opposition.
Last week congressional committees essentially rewrote the plan for the new department, voting not to place the US Coast Guard, the Secret Service and a large part of the immigration service under its auspices.
Tom Ridge, the newly appointed Director of Homeland Security, who developed the strategy, said yesterday that US troops might ringfence cities in the event of a chemical or biological attack, but that rules of engagement needed to be established.
The strategy, illustrated with potential targets including a nuclear power plant and a Washington subway station, incorporates many initiatives already under way: improving the FBIs counter-terrorism capabilities, strengthening protection against cyber-attacks, improving the ability of government computer systems to talk to each other and working internationally to make passports harder to forge.
None of this comes cheap. The plan calls on state and local governments, and the private sector, to pay for much of it. The cost is estimated at more than $100 billion (£70 billion) a year.
Mr Bush said that he would like to see the plan approved by Congress by September 11, the anniversary of the attacks.
We are at war with a (disembodied) "means of attack."
Three thousand dead people might disagree -- if they had a chance.
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
Ummmm...wouldn't that be the job of each state's National Guard? Wouldn't an attack of this sort cause a local martial law declaration? I am a huge supporter of Bush, but this doesn't sound right.
The next step here will be to put a United Nations helmet on the US soldiers conducting Heimlandt Zekuritie operations.
How "secure" does THAT make you feel?
Would be better if we had a terrific plan to defend American from Bush.
This is getting ridiculous. I think Bush & Ridge may be watching a few too many James Bond flicks...
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