Phi Beta Cons

A Big Chill on Tips on Terrorist Threats?

The antiterrorist database “Talon,” employed by the Defense Department in an effort to prevent attacks against military installations, included intelligence tips about antiwar planning sessions on college campuses and other locations.
The A.C.L.U. is up in arms against the program and pressing Democrats, newly in control in Congress, to hold formal hearings about the program.
The New York Times reports that the public controversy over the database has caused “neighborhood” tips about possible threats to significantly decrease this year. Talon’s acting director is concerned that the uproar has resulted in “a huge chilling effect” that could cause the military to overlook real terrorist threats.
The nation must come to terms with the fact that dangerous persons or factions who intend to do us harm may infiltrate – get into the mix – of peaceful antiwar organizations. And our main defense against further guerilla-terrorist attacks is to know about them in advance.
Intelligence tips are the life’s blood of this necessary foreknowledge.

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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