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Politics Out, Federal Government In
October 13, 2001
By Ted Westervelt

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The highly trained federal police force that patrols the US Capitol buildings and their environs and the extraordinary security provided to the White House by the Secret Service have set the standard in federal security services. These services enjoy the full intelligence and national security resources of the United States Government twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Only a full time federal force of air marshals, airport security and air traffic control operating in direct and constant conjunction with the existing security and intelligence apparatus of the US government can effectively protect us from this new threat posed to our national security by airborne terrorists. It is the only measure that can effectively quell the fears so recently burned onto our collective souls and, most importantly, provide a real deterrent to those seeking to replicate them.

A welcome wave of patriotism has, for the time being, washed away many of the obvious trappings of partisanship and petty scandal that have cluttered our political discourse and the 24 hour news media for the better part of a decade. Largely unanimous calls have gone out loud and clear on measures like retribution and even new constitutionally controversial electronic eavesdropping strategies. A stunningly successful military operation and wide new invasions of privacy cannot in and of themselves shore up the security policies that these terrorists exploited.

If we do not take the basic and profound step to fully federalize airline and airport security we will remain vulnerable - both in the eyes of our adversaries and the American public - to the same kind of attack we all witnessed on September 11.

We must not allow cynical 20th century political sniping on the size and scope of the federal government to keep us from closing the loopholes that made left us staggeringly vulnerable in the first war of the 21st.

Corporate or contracted security services would and should never be employed to protect the Capitol and the White House. Likewise, national security is simply a mission for which any airline funded or corporate security force should never be designed and could never be expected to accomplish.


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