Magazine article The World and I

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Magazine article The World and I

From This Month's Menu

Article excerpt

Despite the warnings provided by the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center, the truck bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the disabling attack on the USS Cole in Aden, the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington last year seemed to come out of the blue. This element of surprise has been attributed to intelligence breakdowns. Perhaps more important than what the CIA and the FBI did not know was what they did know but failed to understand in its wider context.

The Special Report, Protecting the American Homeland, includes intelligence matters in its examination of domestic U.S. security in the wake of September 11. One of the articles considers The Case for a Department of Homeland Security proposed by the president. The new department's jobs would include coordinating the results of intelligence gathering, to ensure that the right hand finally knows what the left hand is doing and to improve analysis of the product.

Whether the creation of one more bureaucracy with intelligence responsibilities will prove an effective remedy remains to be seen. Our editor and publisher, Morton A. Kaplan, is skeptical, for one, and explains why in his editorial. Because of the speed and influence of modern media, it is always a temptation for public figures in a crisis to make sure they are seen to be doing something in response without investing enough time to considering how effective the proposed remedy will be.

Today concern over terrorism remains inescapable, whether it means considering who the terrorists are or thinking about the nature of the threats they pose. Terrorism in the Name of God in the Current Issues section looks at Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel, especially their use of Islamic rhetoric for political ends. Facing Up to the Threat of Bioterrorism, in the Natural Science section, considers the challenges posed to public health services and medical research by this type of threat. …

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