New York Post
December 22, 2010
It was a long time coming, but US Attorney General Eric Holder seems to have awakened to the threat of homegrown terrorism.
He said yesterday that the problem "keeps me up at night," worrying about possible attacks.
"What I am trying to do in this interview," he told Good Morning America, "is to make people aware of the fact that the threat is real [and] constant."
That isn't news to anyone living outside Pennsylvania Avenue. In New York alone, American citizens have plotted attacks on subways, landmarks, airports -- and their countrymen.
So why now this stunning admission of the obvious from O & Co.? There are two possible answers:
Bad: The White House expects a repeat of last year's Christmas Day bombing attempt and doesn't want to look like it was asleep at the wheel. Again.
Good (sort of): The scales have finally fallen from Team Obama's eyes, in which case one needs to wonder what cave they've all been living in since 9/11.
But now that Holder concedes the point, what does the administration plan to do about it?
Holder says the government must focus on "American citizens . . . who for whatever reason have decided that they are going to become radicalized."
This will not come as news to the survivors of the Fort Hood massacre, of course. Moreover, he was extremely reluctant to attach the words "Islamic" or "Muslim" to "radical" in yesterday's interview.
Indeed, Holder appeared to leap over the heart of the matter.
Why are American Muslims becoming radicalized, especially new converts? And who is guiding them over the edge?
Rep. Peter King hopes to pose such questions at congressional hearings next year -- the promise of which having already earned him knee-jerk smears as an Islamophobic Joseph McCarthy.
The jibe is meant to deter him, though we bet it won't. And it's also worth recalling that whatever else the famously loose-cannon senator from Wisconsin might have been, he was not wrong about extensive Communist subversion of American institutions.
So, will the White House lend King a hand? Not likely: Forcing the issue publicly would take courage of the sort singularly lacking in this administration.
Sure, Holder can tout indictments of 50 homegrown radicals since 2009. But police work -- jailing men already radicalized -- won't prevent it in the first place.
Going forward, the administration may hope to point back to Holder's TV interview after a strike ("we told you so"). A better option: crafting an honest policy that confronts Islamic radicalism head-on.
The clock, meanwhile, is ticking away.