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New York Post - Time to Talk Terror

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With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching, the state Senate com mittee that covers homeland secu rity thought it a good idea to hold hearings on how prepared New York is to prevent a second deadly attack.

Which is why those hearings, scheduled to begin tomorrow, will include witnesses like Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, MTA Head of Security Douglas Zeigler, former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis and Rep. Pete King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, among others.

But because the hearings will also hear testimony on the actual source of the continuing terrorist threat to America -- Islamic extremism -- 11 Senate Democrats are screaming foul.

Led by Brooklyn's Kevin Parker -- most recently in the news when he went on trial for assaulting a Post photographer -- the 11 Democrats claim those hearings, chaired by upstate Republican Greg Ball, will only "inflame hysteria and place an entire faith under suspicion."

Not surprisingly, they want Ball to focus instead on anti-Muslim hate crimes.

They're backed up by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which knows something about Islamist terror -- having been named an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case involving fundraising for Hamas.

The complaints' focus is on two scheduled witnesses: Egyptian-born journalist Nonie Darwish and Frank Gaffney, a Reagan administration deputy secretary of defense -- both of whom have been outspokenly critical of radical Islam.

But as King rightly notes, "I don't think you can fight an enemy without knowing who the enemy is" -- and where the actual threat comes from.

Threats like:

* Faisal Shahzad, who planted a potentially deadly car bomb in Times Square last year.

* The four-man homegrown terror cell that was busted in 2009 while plotting to bomb two Riverdale synagogues.

* Najibullah Zazi, who pled guilty to charges he and seven others linked to al Qaeda plotted to set off backpack bombs in the New York City subways.

Besides which, the primary focus of the hearings is preparedness -- topics like security at Indian Point and the long-term plans of the NYPD and the MTA to protect New Yorkers.

In fact, Ball says he approached his Democratic colleagues for input and suggestions on possible witnesses -- only to get a brush-off, while they waited for an opportunity to demagogue the issue.

Like King's earlier federal inquiry, Greg Ball's hearings are not only spot on -- they're also long overdue.


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