Taking the terrorist threat seriouslyor how the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security protects us
I wrote this piece in September. when newspaper reports revealed that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security had spent a large sum of money to hire some “experts” to provide it, and the state’s police departments with intelligence about terrorist threats. I sent it to the Inquirer op-ed editor. He was out of town and by the time he returned the moment had passed to publish it.
I forgot about it in the run up to the election. But I’ve been told it’s funny, so here it is. The report of the contents of PA Actionable Intelligence Brief #137 is true.
The liberal media is once again fomenting outrage at the government by attention to the $103,000 contract that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security signed with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response to provide timely intelligence about possible terrorist threats.
But in all the hubbub that the liberal media has created about this contract, has anyone asked whether the reports provided by the Institute have actually saved lives or property by alerting the authorities about possible dangers to our state, republic and way of life? Of course not.
They have ignored clear examples of the usefulness of this kind of intelligence. Here is one of them.
Pennsylvania Actionable Intelligence Briefing #137 created by the Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center on September 13, 2010 warns that “The Jewish High Holiday season may present additional risk factors, with very high attendance at Jewish houses of worship and public gatherings in Pennsylvania.” The report then gives the secret dates of Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah for 2010. (In order to protect public safety, the actual dates of Jewish holidays taking place later this month will not be printed.)
This seems like not only a silly but a bigoted warning. However, an unreported event on Yom Kippur, Saturday September 18, shows how important this warning was.
Late in the afternoon on Yom Kippur in the radical community of West Mt. Airy a group of starving Jews, weakened and almost out of their minds after 20 hours of fasting, and having been radicalized by the memories of all the sins they had committed in the past year, left Germantown Jewish Center and very, very slowly marched to the office of Congressman Chaka Fattah on Germantown Avenue.
Distraught at the failure to secure single payer health insurance this year, the group was determined to take radical action against Congressman Fattah who not only voted for but worked hard to enact President Obama’s health care reform proposal.
No one is exactly sure when this took place, although most reports place it between the Yizkor and N’eilah services. The Yizkor Service memorializes the dead. Sources from inside Germantown Jewish suggest that the radical group of Jews were driven over the edge by the comparison of the Obama health care plan to the single payer program, Medicare, created by their parents.
When they arrived at Congressman Fattah’s office, one of the radical Jews called on the group to burn it down. However, it is not permitted to light matches on Yom Kippur, and after a forty-five minute debate, the group was unable to reach consensus and dropped the plan.
Failing on their first attempt, they decided to write an incendiary letter denouncing the Obama health care plan. They were almost finished when a violent dispute arose over whether to use a dash or a colon in one sentence. With the unity of the group at stake, they decided to drop this action as well.
Then one man pulled out a Shofar and the group began marching around the building, making a shrieking noise on the horn. Their hope was to invoke God’s wrath on Congressman Fattah’s office and see it crumble before them like the walls of Jericho.
Fortunately, this did not occur.
Intensely frustrated by their failure to this point, the group entered Congressman Fattah’s office and, finding a clerk, proceeded to kvetch about President Obama’s inadequate health care plan for an hour and a half, driving the poor clerk to contemplate suicide.
Just when the terror plot was escalating into a final confrontation, officers from the 14th police district, warned by the Pennsylvania Actionable Intelligence Briefing #137, arrived on the scene and escorted the terrorists out of the building.
Because the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to protect kvetching, especially to government officials, the officers had to release the terrorists. Under careful police surveillance, they proceeded to march up Germantown Avenue chanting “What do we want? Single payer! When do we want it? Yyesterday!”
When they reached Geechee Girl Restaurant, they realized the sun had set and Yom Kippur was over and decided to have a nosh. They felt better after eating and the terror threat dissipated.
With this tale in mind, liberal editorialists need to be asking themselves this: (or this—) Now that Pennsylvania’s contract with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response has been terminated, how can we be sure that the Department of Homeland Security and the police forces of our Commonwealth will have the early warning they need to prevent serious terrorists threats of this kind? Without this contract, no one is there to watch radical Jews or other possible threats to our security, like Quaker peace activists.
Marc Stier is the Executive Director of Penn Action and Health Care For America Now (HCAN) in Pennsylvania. He is deeply embarrassed that none of the actions HCAN took against CIGNA insurance were deemed threatening enough to be reported by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response.