Jewish World Review June 2, 2004 / 13 Sivan 5764

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Homeland Security should have reign over releasing new terror threats


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | How many times have we heard that one of the biggest problems before 9/11 was communication problems and turf wars between the CIA and FBI? Although we've heard repeatedly that the relationship has significantly improved over the past few years, the "Wall Street Journal" is now reporting that this week's warning from the attorney general of a possible summer terror attack has "aggravated simmering tensions between the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security."


Apparently Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge got only minimal notice of the attorney general's plan to warn of a possible attack. Homeland Security officials decided not to raise the terror threat level because, as Asa Hutchinson told us on my show, they didn't feel the information was new or specific enough to warrant a raise in that level. Now there are already questions about what purpose these warnings served, and whether there's really nothing people can do. To have dissension on top of that makes it much more unsettling.


I'm certain they're looking at the same intelligence and just interpreting it differently. That happens. But if it's supposed to avoid fear and avoid panic, there must be one voice speaking to the public. Let the FBI release the pictures of possible terrorists we need to be looking out for. But when it comes to the threat of an attack and the risks to the public, isn't that exactly what the Homeland Security Department is supposed to do? The attorney general should have left this one in their hands.


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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

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