Friday, September 9, 2011

Counterterrorism expert: Intel, law enforcement making strides in protecting homeland


Clare Lopez
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
An obvious and logical question that comes up as we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is: are we safer now than we were then?
The answer, says former CIA officer Clare Lopez, is yes.
In an interview with News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network, Lopez says the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies that were criticized for not sharing information which might have thwarted the September 11 attacks are cooperating now. A testament to their efforts: the numerous documented cases of plots thwarted.
But Lopez says the real first line of defense is not necessarily the intelligence agencies and law enforcement, but members of the public who report suspicious activities. The stopping of the Times Square bomber, she says, is a prime example.
It’s exceedingly difficult, she says, for homeland security personnel to keep track of all the possible threats because of the asymmetric nature  of the battle.
Lopez also says those who believe that U.S. interdiction of suspected terrorist operations overseas put the nation at greater risk are misguided. The goal, she says, of radical Islam, is to convert the rest of the world and bring it under Sharia law. Nothing the West does accelerates that goal.
That being said, Lopez holds in high regard Muslims who reject the call to jihad and who cooperate with authorities in helping prevent terrorist attacks. In the eyes of the radicals, they, she says, are apostates and are literally putting their lives at risk by doing so.
Finally, Lopez defends the NYPD against criticism for its undercover work in mosques. The cops are not, she argues, engaged in violations of civil rights. Rather, they are, following strict protocol, following up on leads. They should be, she says, commended, not criticized, for their work.
Clare M. Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on national defense, Islam, Iran, and counterterrorism issues. Currently a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund and vice president of the Intelligence Summit, she formerly was a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006, and has served as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher for a variety of defense firms. She was named a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute this year.

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