12/13/04 — OPINION -- Encouraging terrorists

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OPINION -- Encouraging terrorists

By Gene Price
Published in News on December 13, 2004 1:57 PM

Departing Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson offered what he considers an impressive list of accomplishments during his tenure in Washington.

But one declaration made during his resignation announcement must have been alarming to most Americans -- and probably welcomed by terrorists contemplating ways to hit the U.S. where it lives.

"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do," Thompson said before the television cameras and massed news reporters.

This from the man who was charged with protecting the health of American citizens throughout President George W. Bush's first term in the White House.

Ever since 9/11 the world has been given insights into the inadequacy of our security. Our borders are porous. Only a fraction of the ships calling on our ports are checked before entering. Our airline security, especially checked baggage, is particularly vulnerable. Municipal water supplies are inviting targets ...

It seems that there is no limit to the opportunities enterprising reporters can reveal to the public -- and to potential terrorists.

Terrorists, while fanatic, ruthless and without conscience, also, unfortunately, are smart, devious, perceptive and innovative. Perhaps they have been considering all these opportunities since even before 9/11.

But Tommy Thompson's declaration came across as a chilling invitation, a chiding of terrorists for not having taken advantage of what he tells the world is an "easy target."