Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to those who still suffer from the September 11 Massacre. While people have volunteered thousands of hours and donated nearly $1 billion to relief and recovery efforts, folks tell me they wish they could do more. Having shown their love for fellow citizens in need, they still want to hunt down the nearest terrorist and snap his neck like a chopstick.
Eager to wear America’s uniform, large numbers of young people have marched into armed forces recruiting stations since the attack. Applications to the CIA also have climbed to roughly 5,000 per week, a 10-fold increase above pre-9-11 levels.
Of course, soldiering and spying are not for everyone. But there still are several specific things Americans can and should do to help pinpoint and pulverize the terrorist vermin who likely are plotting against the United States, even as you read these words.
Anyone who wishes may contribute money to the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program. Its website accepts tax-deductible donations which also are secure and anonymous. This is a worthy cause that works.
“One of the most powerful tools we have for tracking down terrorists abroad is the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program,” Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters October 10. “It gives us millions of additional pairs of eyes and ears to be on the lookout. It puts potential informants in every place a terrorist might try to operate or to hide.”
Since it began in 1984, this program has paid more than $8 million in rewards to informants in 22 cases who helped capture terrorists or prevent attacks. It also has used simple communications tools to expose and ultimately apprehend violent extremists.
U.S. embassies overseas disseminated flyers and “wanted” posters bearing the face of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. Pakistani authorities arrested the mastermind of the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing and handed him to the FBI in February 1995 after someone revealed Yousef’s location. This anonymous source benefited financially by furnishing that datum. For his part, Yousef is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for his culpability in the first assault on the Twin Towers.
The Rewards for Justice program also distributed matchbooks featuring a mug shot of Mir Aimal Kansi along with his name in English and Arabic. Kansi fatally shot two people and permanently wounded three others with an AK-47 rifle outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on January 25, 1993. Like Yousef, Kansi also was apprehended in Pakistan after someone dropped the dime on him and was paid for doing so. Kansi was convicted of these murders and assaults and awaits execution in the U.S.
This program now grants up to $5 million for details that will help authorities catch terrorists or foil their plans. If necessary, it also will relocate cooperative people to America or a third country. While Congress funds Rewards for Justice, since September 11, Americans also may support it directly. A flood of donations to Rewards for Justice could pay sources handsomely to wash terrorists from the caves and crevices they call home.
Americans can offer information, too. Photos and biographical data on the 22 terrorists the federal government most eagerly wishes to nab appear on the web page of the TV program, America’s Most Wanted. AMW confidentially will forward to law-enforcement officials any tips on the whereabouts or activities of these evil men.
Americans who work, study, or travel overseas may have observed things abroad that could help the U.S. win the War on Terror. The CIA says it reads every e-mail it receives through its website. While it cannot acknowledge every message, it will analyze relevant reports, whether submitted anonymously or not. “People have provided the Agency with very significant information that has assisted us in a number of different areas,” CIA spokesperson Anya Guilsher told me. She declined to elaborate.
As emotionally satisfying as it would be, the vast majority of Americans never will have the privilege of dropping a bunker-buster bomb on an al Qaeda training camp. However, every American can play a small — and perhaps pivotal — part in the War on Terror by volunteering income or information to help annihilate these assassins. Victory should involve each one of us.