The Biden Administration chooses not to remember 9/11
Terrorism was on everyone’s mind last week as the country remembered the deadly attacks of September 11, 2001. The day was a solemn reminder that seems lost on the current President of the United States.
The Biden Administration released its National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism in June of 2021. It addressed the “persistent and evolving threat of domestic terror”. The document is a 30-page report outlining the strategy for fighting domestic forces of terror in the United States. It is focused on the right-wing anti-government types, so called white nationalists, the January 6 rioters, etc. Of course, no mention of Antifa or eco-terror types. Not to downplay the threat. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 of his fellow Americans in Oklahoma City. It is true that the threat from his ilk is more expansive than it was in 1993.
But what about the threat that we all recalled with mourning and sadness last week. The threat of international terrorism (some less PC of us might call it radical Islamist terror)
Not much there. A page and a half press release of bullet points outline vagaries of a plan that encompasses terror, WMD, and radioactive materials. Even the Wall Street Journal has brought this issue up, asking where the Biden Admin’s strategy is over two years ago.
From what we can tell here from the front lines in New York City, it seems like weak tea.
This threat is not over – not by a long shot. The US intelligence apparatus has assessed the threat of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Afghanistan as diminished. They claim that the killings of terrorists such as Ayman al-Zawahiri in August 2022 has destroyed the leadership capabilities of al-Qaeda and ISIS. (if that sounds familiar it’s because they have been saying similar things for decades). But they also say that ISIS’s external threat capabilities are a concern. Those statements seem somewhat contradictory, no?
Call me a skeptic, but when the US Intelligence apparatus appears to exactly affirm US policy, I get a little nervous. (Remember when these guys missed the 9/11 attack and were shocked when the Soviet Union collapsed?) Especially when the United Nations Sanctions Monitoring Team believes that al-Qaeda is in a reorganization phase, establishing new training sites within Afghanistan.
Does US intel believe these sites don’t exist? Do they think the Afghani Olympic Team is up there training for Paris 2024?
Joe Biden’s gameplan appears to be outsourcing overseas counter-terrorism operations to other countries, including the Taliban. His administration doesn’t seem concerned that other countries don’t share the same motives, concerns, and capabilities of the United States. Even his domestic and personnel decisions ignore international terror threats.
The 9/11 Commission made numerous recommendations for the federal government to follow to prevent another foreign-based terror attack. Most were addressed but it seems like the Biden Administration has been doing a good job of walking them back.
To list a few examples:
- Transforming the FBI to focus on preventing terrorism – I don’t know what to make of the FBI these days. They seem to be more concerned about censorship and domestic election-fixing than anything else. Any terrorism arrests seem to be of low-end January 6th trespassers, whose classification as “terrorists” is a stretch. Yet there are the names, right on the FBI’s “terrorism news” webpage.
- Cracking down on terror financing – The Biden Administration only has to look in the mirror to see who they need to crack down on. After the federal government blindly dumped trillions of unaccounted for dollars into Afghanistan and Iraq (which is currently an Iranian client state), Biden allowed billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment to fall into the hands of the Taliban. And that was part of the plan! Why worry about tracking terrorist financing. We gave them enough weapons to last them a lifetime. Just worry about keeping it out of the United States – which leads to the next point…
- Improving border screening and security – Preventing those lost American weapons from killing our citizens here is going to take some solid border security. And here is where the Biden Administration is most negligent. There is effectively no southern border in our country. Recent reports from DHS have warned that at least 160 individuals on the terror watchlist have been caught trying to sneak across the southern border this year alone. That number has been increasing exponentially since Biden took office.
- A National Identification system – As a former identity theft investigator, I can assure you that no one knows the identity of many of the people currently living in our country. Many have stolen identities, synthetic identities, or multiple identities. There has not been a significant improvement in this regard other than some slightly more stringent licensing regulations.
- Unified intelligence system – This recommendation created the cabinet position of Director of National Intelligence. Who is the current occupant of that office? I must admit that I had to break out the google to look it up. It’s Avril Haines, a former bookstore owner, law clerk, and State Department apparatchik who President Obama appointed Deputy Director of the CIA despite never having worked in that agency. Her biggest governmental accomplishment was investigating CIA torture report leaks and writing policy on drone attacks. Not exactly the heavyweight to lead our national intelligence apparatus (Trump was not much better in this regard – mostly political appointments). But don’t worry, the opening statement on the DNI website touts her status as a woman as one of her primary qualifications.
Overall, Joe Biden does not share the same concern for preventing terrorism of most Americans, particularly those investigators who deal with this on a daily basis. And certainly not of New Yorkers who spent September 11, 2023, mourning lost loved ones and recalling the worst terror attack in American history. It doesn’t seem as far in the past to us as it does to Joe Biden, who thinks it is ancient history. Apparently, he can’t even remember where he was the next day.