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Posted: January 15, 2010 12:30 a.m.

National insecurity

Imagine. You have been sworn in as president of the United States and it is your first Christmas in the White House. What a year it has been. Now some worried-looking aide enters the room. You wonder. Is it war in the Middle East? Unrest in Iran? Earthquakes in Peru?

"Mr. President," the worried aide says, "a passenger on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit has set his pants on fire." Nine years after 9/11. After billions upon billions of dollars sunk into antiterrorism funding. After enough planning paperwork to bury alleged state sponsors of terrorism under a foot thick layer of paper. You don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

We have employed hundreds of thousands for screening at airports. Spent an unknown amount of money on dubious technologies for more screening. And yet, when the names and intentions of terrorists are called in by their families, what saves us is that our attacker was more like Charlie Brown than an actual terrorist.

Our intelligence agencies were told by his family to watch for him by name. What more is needed? Should terrorists wear a special emblem on their clothing or something?

Is this a Charlie Brown versus the Keystone Cops? The intelligence agencies have ignored the recommendations from 9/11 to share information because they want to protect their "turf" — whether innocent Americans are harmed or not.

Seems to me like both Republicans and Democrats should unite to take that "turf" away from its present owners and give it to someone who will act in the interest of the American people, not agency drones.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns regularly appear on Fridays.

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