TAMPA, August 2, 2013 – The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a worldwide “travel alert” on Friday to warn U.S. citizens of “the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.” DOS also announced plans to temporarily close its embassies in 14 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
While the move is presumably the result of intelligence gathering, the government has not provided any details as to what prompted the precautions. Perhaps it was a tip from its network of informers. It could be information gleaned from its myriad surveillance programs.
What we do know is that the government’s reaction to the intelligence shows just how little it can really do to protect Americans against a terrorist attack. The government’s only answer is to pull its employees out of 14 countries and tell everyone else to “take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”
Protect yourselves. That’s what Americans have done during every terrorist attack, after government efforts to protect them failed.
Private citizens protecting themselves and others have been the only effective countermeasure against terrorism. The passengers of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 gave their lives to prevent the loss of possibly hundreds or thousands of others. Private citizens also subdued the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber before either could carry out their plans.
The only “terrorist plots” that the government has foiled are those it created itself and then duped “hapless wannabees” into joining. When the danger is real, you’re on your own.
It begs the question of why Americans tolerate the assault on their liberty that has been underway since 9/11.
The State Department’s may be overreacting, perhaps partially due to its failure to protect its own in Benghazi. Or, the threat may be very credible. Either way, the government’s vast intelligence gathering apparatus is providing little value in exchange for what Americans have given up.
With the NSA has collecting information on every phone call, e-mail and web search, the TSA radiating and searching every traveler, and the military garrisoning troops in 190 countries, shouldn’t the government be able to determine exactly who represents this latest threat and take action against them?
Instead, all they can do is evacuate 14 countries and tell travelers “be careful.”
We gave up the Bill of Rights for this?
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. He writes weekly columns on his blog and his weekly column in the Washington Times has been featured on The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post, Daily Paul, LewRockwell.com, 321 Gold! and Peter Schiff’s EuroPac.net. Tom has been a guest on Fox’s Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano, Adam Vs. the Man, Free Talk Live, and numerous other programs.