Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Canadian Terror Arrests Remind Us of Need for Domestic Espionage

The full details of Canada’s recent arrest of an alleged terrorist group has shocked many Canadians. Not because they didn’t think they were a target but because the accused men are Canadian citizens.

Like the British citizens who carried out last year’s London bombings, these alleged terrorists in Canada apparently have more allegiance to their perverted interpretation of Islam than they do to their own nation. I do not know how or why this dark and despicable ideology can metastasize from the Middle East and take hold in the hearts of men living in the freest of societies with the greatest opportunities in the world.

What I do know is that it does happen. And we’d be foolish to think it can’t happen here. That’s why developing a robust domestic espionage program is vital. But first we need to get our bearings. Many on the right seem to equate meaningful oversight of domestic surveillance with handing our secrets over to the terrorists. While some of the left seem completely unwilling to acknowledge that there actually are real threats that demand real action.

The best course, I believe, is to forge all new domestic espionage programs with the approval and continual oversight of congress. Clearly much of the proceedings would need to be kept secret. And clearly congress would botch a few things up. But I believe congressional approval and oversight is the only way we can create the kinds of long-term (decades long at least) security programs we need to have without unduly threatening the average person’s liberties.

Many have labeled my position as terrorist-appeasement. They say my view cares more about the terrorist’s rights than it does our security. This is b.s. in its purest form. What I care about is OUR rights and our security. I want both.

We cannot pretend there is no threat. But neither can we pretend that letting secretive agencies handle our security (and decide which of our liberties are most important) is a benign or even acceptable solution.

Strong of will AND strong of mind. That’s the kind of leadership we really need.


Blogger cakreiz said...

Exactly, Alan. Don't ignore the threat but act legally. Why is this a difficult concept to grasp? Same with the Guantanemo detainees, who should be treated within the bounds of the GC, regardless of whether they fall outside of its technical scope.

6:48 AM  

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