Clark Kent Ervin

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The Christmas Day attempt to destroy an airplane landing in Detroit underscores the sad reality that terrorism is a constant danger to the United States. Let us hope that policymakers will take this opportunity to make some overdue changes in their strategies for preventing attacks.

They can start by “rationalizing” various government databases. It is disturbing that someone who is thought to have connections to terrorism serious enough to warrant being placed on a government watch list is still not put on the smaller “no-fly” list of people who are banned from airplanes.

How did this come to pass? The no-fly list is reserved for those who are thought to pose a threat to airplanes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Homeland security, intelligence and legal experts share their reactions.

The president has ordered two reviews since the attack attempted against Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day. While such reviews are necessary to understand why a multibillion-dollar aviation security system failed to prevent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a U.S.-bound flight with explosives, the American people rightly expect more.

This plot appears to trace back to Yemen, a country that is not a new counterterrorism problem. Since the October 2000 attack against the USS Cole, in which 17 U.S. sailors were killed, two administrations have pushed Yemen to confront al-Qaeda without sufficient success.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Clark Kent Ervin, the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department from 2003 to 2004, a fellow at the Aspen Institute and the author of Open Target: Where America Is Vulnerable to Attack (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11/09/08):

If recent history is any guide — the first World Trade Center bombing a month after Bill Clinton became president; 9/11 itself, in the first year of the Bush administration; the Madrid bombing in 2004 on the eve of a national election in Spain; and the foiled London-Glasgow bomb plot last summer at the start of a new government — President Barack Obama or President John McCain may well be tested by terrorists soon after taking office.…  Seguir leyendo »