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Morning Bell: Where NOT to Travel This Month
Posted By Amy Payne On August 6, 2013 @ 7:00 am In Security | Comments Disabled
The State Department closed 21 U.S. embassies  over the weekend and issued a travel alert for Americans regarding the Middle East and northern Africa, warning of possible terrorist threats in the region.
Where did the intelligence come from that prompted the caution?
As NBC’s Brian Williams said , “It all began with an intercepted communication.”
Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Yemen were talking about a possible terrorist plot around the date of August 4—and U.S. intelligence was listening.
This type of intercept is the reason programs like the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM monitoring exist, says Heritage’s James Carafano, the E. W. Richardson Fellow. Carafano notes :
At least 60 Islamist-inspired terrorist plots have been aimed at the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks. The overwhelming majority have been thwarted  thanks to timely, operational intelligence about the threats. Congress should not go back to a pre-9/11 set of rules just to appeal to populist sentiment.
We need these programs, and we also need to make sure they are being used appropriately. Carafano says “Congress and the White House have an obligation to protect our liberties and to safeguard our security—in equal measure .” On both fronts, Congress should not be complacent in its responsibility to exercise responsible oversight.
The Obama Administration’s response to this intelligence shows it has learned one of the lessons of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. However, Heritage expert Helle Dale says  that while “the Obama White House has learned to play it safe when credible terrorist threats are detected,” the “failure of the Obama Administration to retaliate in any way against those who attacked our consulate and killed a U.S. ambassador has emboldened the enemies of the United States.”
“By adopting a risk-averse strategy  against al-Qaeda, we emboldened resurgent terrorists,” Dale says.
And President Obama’s campaign claim that al-Qaeda was “on the run” has been disproven again and again. As Heritage’s Peter Brookes puts it, “We’re in a post-Osama bin Laden era, but we’re not in a post-al-Qaeda era.”
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Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/08/06/morning-bell-where-not-to-travel-this-month/
URLs in this post:
 closed 21 U.S. embassies: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/08/05/embassy-closings-reflect-benghazi-failure/
 said: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52680208/#52680208
 notes: http://washingtonexaminer.com/prism-is-essential-to-u.s.-security-in-war-against-terrorism/article/2533856
 majority have been thwarted: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/54th-terror-plot-against-the-us-qazi-brothers-plot
 strategy: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/04/counterterrorism-heritage-foundation-recommendations
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