National Journal columnist Michael Hirsh published an article, as well as wrote an online blog, in which an unnamed senior official in the State Department told him that, “The war on terror is over.” (Read more on this here from The Weekly Standard).
I personally find this statement to be confusing because it was just this morning that I attended the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association’s conference in Bellevue, Washington, and heard a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official deliver a completely opposite statement.
Speaking during the general session, Jimmy Beasley, a Transportation Security Specialist for the TSA’s Highway Motor Carrier Program, began his remarks by stating “that we still should be aware and understand that the war on terror is far from being over. We still have a lot of work to do.”
He went on to explain that “lone wolf operations” are the biggest threat to the United States. One of the counter measures to this and other threats are the VIPR teams (which I previously wrote about in a blog post titled Mission Creep on the Highways). He emphasized the importance of the VIPR teams at bus terminals, truck stops, weigh stations, rest areas and other locations.
Further supporting the idea that perhaps the war on terror is not over, the TSA also continues to develop and update counter terrorism guides that will be published sometime in the next 6 months.
According to Beasley, TSA is also moving forward with two new initiatives to help fight the war on terror, though both are still in the beginning stages:
- Food Defense – TSA is currently working with the USDA and FDA to try and identify and mitigate the security gaps in food defense during transport.
- Truck Tracking – the 9/11 Act requires TSA to develop a truck tracking program for all motor carriers transporting security sensitive cargo. (Public Law 110-53, Sec. 1554)
The question then becomes, which Administration official is correct – is the war on terror over or not? Well, it apparently depends on which official in the Obama Administration you are asking and what they are trying to achieve that day.