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Another Win for the Good Guys – Let's Not Get Too Comfortable

The prevention of a bombing attack on an inbound passenger airliner this week was a great piece of work by the Intelligence Community, especially the Central Intelligence Agency. Since 9/11, there have been numerous attempts at attacking the homeland from both within the country and from without. All have failed.

I have read a lot of the online and print media reporting of this most recent prevention over the past couple of days. Each day more operational details leak out. Coming from the intelligence world, I am dumbfounded by “anonymous sources” reporting the details of the operation to the press. Does anybody even try to protect sensitive sources and methods anymore? Don’t people understand – particularly media people – that the more information that is exposed gives our enemies food for thought on how to beat the system next time (and there will be a next time)?

Protection of human and technical sources and methods being used by the Intelligence Community is critical, particularly in time of war. We are at war even though most of the liberal media seems to brush that aside, other than reporting that we should pull out of everywhere. People who are serving in the field both here and abroad are at risk and when sensitive operational information is put out there for all to see, it makes the risk to them and their continued success much higher. I know we are in the “political season” and that successes like this can help the party in power. But leaking key information is despicable to me and a lot of folks like me who have been involved in these kinds of matters. The less said the better. I thought the President’s Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan did a terrific job providing the media with a public statement on the prevention. Too bad others could not stay on message.

The way we do our intelligence business today must not be compromised by a few people who may be either disloyal and/or disgruntled; or who in the extreme are acting in a traitorous manner. I hope that whoever is leaking details of this operation is identified, and if appropriate, prosecuted for this behavior before more details are leaked that can diminish/damage ongoing or future operations.

With all the successes we have had over the years, we must always remember that “we don’t know what we don’t know” and that our enemies will continue to scheme and plot. They don’t need large budgets or extensive resources to make something happen. They can produce weapons from purchasing off-the-shelf materials, although it is not as easy as it used to be. A few pipe bombs and some sniper attacks can cause a lot of damage and wreak havoc in any community, as we saw here in the Washington D.C. area a few years ago.

I pray that we continue to have great accomplishments in preventing terrorist attacks across the world. But if one should occur here, if somebody should break through our defenses, we will need to do what we did after 9/11—stay strong and go get the perpetrators.

Robert Blitzer blogs on law enforcement, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, emergency management, and public health and medical emergency response. Read More