There was news yesterday of three convictions in the plot to blow-up international flights bound for the United States. The trial is a cogent reminder that the transnational terrorists are still out there. They are trying to kill us. We need to stop them. By our count, 23 terrorists plots aimed at killing Americans on American soil have been foiled since 9/11. That number only includes cases where individuals have been indicted in court. It does not include classified covert activities that have frustrated other terrorist plots.
The week of 9/11 serves to remind us of what the mission of homeland security is all about. It would a mistake to dilute the date to suit political purposes. Likewise, it is ill-considered to expand the term “homeland security” to cover everything from swine flu to hurricanes. While the Department of Homeland of Security, as well as other federal agencies, has responsibilities for all these activities, the core competency of the enterprise should remain combating terrorism.