If I’ve learned one thing over the last seven excruciatingly-lonnnnngg years it has been this: whenever someone; anyone even loosely affiliated with the Bush regime utters any variation of the words in the title above, we’re about to lose another civil liberty.
Note: this subject was broached yesterday here. But, due to its importance, I believe this needs much more exposure -- hence today's effort.
This time it’s everyone’s
favorite loathsome Independent Democrat; Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman who uttered the pernicious pronouncement at the end of his report. Lieberman (through a grave injustice) still wields all the power in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Released yesterday, the committee report details a "growing threat" from terrorists’ use of the internet for training and recruiting. The report concludes that the U.S. government should consider its own outreach program as a counter to the Web strategies of groups such as al-Qaida.
A draft of the staff-generated report obtained by The Courant says that "radicalization is no longer confined to training camps in Afghanistan or other locations far from our shores; it is also occurring right here in the United States." The homeland security committee, led by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, has investigated "the threat of homegrown terrorism" in several hearings since last year.
The committee report characterizes the internet as an infinite resource with unlimited reach; tailor-made for terrorists attempting to recruit disaffected American youth:
The Hartford Courant is running the story:
"a multi-tiered online media operation in which a number of production units associated with [al-Qaeda] or allied violent Islamist organizations produce content consistent with the core terrorist enlistment message."
The "thousands" of terrorist-operated websites have become "an effective distribution system for the core enlistment message and other content," the report contends. There is no longer as much of a need, it suggests, for physical training camps.
The recently minted "independent Democrat," Lieberman, has been an uncompromising advocate of the war against terrorism, putting that issue above all others in his political life. So terrorism has also become a focus of his committee.
Despite the dubious absence of public pronouncements touting the thwarting of a number of them, Lieberman still lists various domestic plots in the reports foiled by U.S. law enforcement that it says were inspired by Islamist extremism – though -- "... not actually affiliated with known terrorism groups. Intelligence officials have characterized the foiled plots as "... not being very sophisticated."
In February, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell stated that "Their efforts, when disrupted, largely have been in the nascent phase, and authorities often were able to take advantage of poor operational tradecraft." But he followed up by saying that material on the internet could give future groups "... opportunities to build relationships and gain expertise that previously were available only in training camps."
The report contends that there are four stages of morphing a vulnerable person into a terrorist, as taught by New York Police Department specialists.
Left unchallenged, it is very possible that the core terrorist enlistment message espoused over the Internet will drive more individuals in the United States all the way through the four stages of the radicalization process," it says.
So, how would it be challenged? Right now "there is no cohesive and comprehensive outreach and communications strategy in place to confront this threat," the report says. Several agencies have existing, narrow missions, but the report argues for a more comprehensive approach. "We must isolate and discredit the violent Islamist ideology as a cause worth supporting."
In conclusion, the report states that new laws should be considered "... to prevent the spread of the ideology." And, those looking for solutions need to act, "... quickly and aggressively."
Leave it to Lieberman to take up the slack with the "Be very afraid" propaganda now that the Bush regime is halfway out the door and retain about as much credibility as Bush has brains. My problem with this whole "parsing the internet" legislature is that if terrorists’ using the internet for recruitment is that pervasive then why haven’t we heard anything about these multiple thwarted plots?
Does anyone really think if all this was true that the White House would keep it secret? Guess what; they think we’re not paying attention again. Now that the primaries are winding down, once again it’s time to man the phones to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and urge your senators to vote no on S.1959.
Please call. Contact information is on the Committee website.