Weekly Column, WLS 890 AM - Spying on the Polar Ice Caps?
By: Congressman Roskam
In a scary throwback to the Clinton Administration, the 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill passed last week in the House diverts US intelligence resources away from critical national security missions to study global climate change. While climate change is worthy of study, US intelligence services are supposed to be focused on threats to our national security, not threats to the environment.
Back in the 1990s the Clinton Administration intelligence spending was cut across the board while frivolous projects such as a "DCI Environmental Center" were added. This center is now infamous for diverting valuable spy satellite time to survey the polar ice caps and sea turtle nests on beaches. George Tenet, former CIA Director, said in his latest book that environmental intelligence analysis - nicknamed "bugs and bunnies" - was a pet project of Vice President Al Gore.
These cuts to intelligence gathering came around the time the first attack on the World Trade Center, as the Islamic extremist threat began to go global. The intelligence community is regularly criticized for missing the events that led to the tragedy of September 11. One wonders if the severity of the Islamic extremist threat would have gone unnoticed had the CIA been focused on Afghanistan rather than Antarctica.
As the recent plot to attack Fort Dix illustrates, radical Islam is not turning its focus away from killing our people and disrupting our way of life. It is important that our nation use all the resources it has to gather intelligence on the threat from radical jihadists and al Qaeda, as well as all other threats to our homeland.
While global climate change is a serious concern we should be watching closely, this environmental phenomenon is being researched by more than a dozen other federal agencies. The subject of global warming is by no means getting the cold shoulder from the federal government.
However, when it comes to deciding how to spend precious taxpayer monies for intelligence gathering, let our spies be spies.