Thu, 21 May 2009 21:14:35 +0000 – By Tevi Troy Former Bush Administration Official
Today's arrest of four jihadist terrorists planning to blow up a Riverdale, New York synagogue shows just how real the jihadist threat is, and how important it is that both federal and local officials focus on the reality of this threat. While the arrest itself is good news, the seriousness of the plot, and the virulent anti-Semitism of the plotters are bad news, and suggest a series of actions going forward.
The Department of Homeland Security should make sure that they keep their main focus on the jihadist threat, and not go down the path of looking at military veterans and abortion critics. In doing so, DHS officials and the FBI must collaborate with the New York City Police Department, which has an excellent anti-terror task force.
As Christopher Dickey notes in his book, Securing the City, one of the reasons that the NYPD has had to create its own 600 person anti-terror team is the fact that New York is subject to so many threats, combined with the lack of cooperation the city has received from the federal government in the past. Dickey tells a great story of a definitive FBI report on a terror incident in Europe that came to the NYPD . . . 18 months after it was written. The haughty attitude stemming from what NYPD brass calls the 3 letter guys - FBI and CIA - was typical, and federal officials who supervise them, at Justice and the Director of National Intelligence, need to make sure that they maintain appropriate levels of cooperation.
Another issue the government needs to work on is fighting anti-Semitism. President Bush made fighting anti-Semitism an important plank of his foreign policy, talking both publicly and privately with foreign leaders about the need to combat anti-Semitism. This kind of message from our top leadership is instrumental in sending the signal that anti-Semitism is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It would be good to hear a statement from President Obama demonstrating that fighting anti-Semitism is a core tenet of American policy, both foreign and domestic, and continues from administration to administration.