Graham, a presidential candidate and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also accused the administration of jeopardizing the safety of Americans by blocking the release of a landmark congressional report on the government failures that preceded the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. And he said the White House has withheld from the public important information about the continued existence of terrorist cells in the United States — including some with ties to foreign governments that the United States has been afraid to go after.
"By continuing to classify that information . . . the American people have been denied important information for their own protection, for the protection of the communities," Graham said on CBS News’ "Face the Nation."
Now open access is important, but this is ridiculous. Exactly how would having a detailed decription of intelligence failures prior to September 11 help the American public? Graham argues that it would assist local agencies in responding to terrorist threats. Except it isn’t the job of local agencies to apprehend terrorists – that’s the work of the FBI. Nor does it do anything to help assist in disaster training – that information is already publically available from the NYPD and others.
Perhaps this never dawned on the Senator, but there’s probably a damn good reason why this material is classified. Somehow telling the entire world what we know about terrorists operating in our borders seems a poor way of dealing with terrorism. It isn’t sound policy to release information that might as well be a how-to guide on defeating the US intelligence system.
Senator Graham is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He should know better. The information in the report needs to be acted upon, but there is little value in releasing this information to the public. This is nothing more than a political stunt would lead to more vulnerability to terrorism, not less.