Tags: kerik | patriot | act | attack

U.S. Needs Patriot Act to Avert Attack, Kerik Says

By Jim Meyers   |   Friday, 03 Apr 2009 06:27 PM

Highly decorated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik tells Newsmax that failure to renew the Patriot Act would place Americans in “serious jeopardy” and could lead to a “catastrophic attack” in the U.S.

Kerik, who was President George W. Bush’s nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security before he withdrew his name from consideration, also said the detainees at Guantanamo Bay who could be released into the U.S. remain determined to “create the demise” of America.

Editor’s Note: To see the full Bernard Kerik interview, Go Here Now.

Newsmax TV’s Ashley Martella noted that FBI Director Robert Mueller has urged Democrats to renew the Patriot Act, which is set to expire in December, and asked how important the intelligence-gathering measure has been in keeping the U.S. safe since 9/11.

“I think it’s one of the most important tools we have in combating terrorism,” said Kerik, who was police commissioner during the 9/11 attacks.

“Director Mueller’s request is something that should be seriously considered by Congress. At the end of the day, being as responsible as they must be, I don’t think they’re going to have a choice but to renew the provisions and ensure the safety and security of this country. Without those provisions, I think we’re seriously in jeopardy.

“You have to look at what happened on 9/11, why it happened, how it happened, the intelligence that slipped through the cracks. The criticism that came out of the 9/11 Commission hearings [was] about the lack of coordination, cooperation and intelligence gathering between our own agencies. We didn’t even have the ability for the FBI and the CIA to communicate.

“So we now have the ability, from a state and municipal level to a federal level to an international level, for all that intelligence to be gathered, analyzed, and disseminated to the people that need it to protect us.

“But if we lose these provisions, those elements and others will be lost, and I think the country will be in serious jeopardy…

“If we fail, you could see a catastrophic attack in this country or on our soft targets abroad, and we can’t afford that again, particularly right now with the economy as it is today.”

Martella asked Kerik about the ACLU’s allegations of “widespread abuse” of government authority under the Patriot Act.

“I don’t think there’s been widespread abuse,” he responded.

“In fact, there are provisions within the Patriot Act to have constant oversight of the various elements … to make sure there’s no abuses.

“If there’s abuses by overzealous prosecutors or overzealous agents, then deal with that, and deal with it harshly. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep this thing in place because if you lose our ability to communicate, to listen to certain intelligence, to wiretap people, to do all the things or many of the things that are in the provisions of the Patriot Act, we’re going to lose our ability to protect this country.”

Citing President Barack Obama’s stated intention of shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and suggestions that some of the detainees there could be released into the U.S. and provided with “assistance to go back into society,” Martella asked Kerik if that is a sound strategy.

“I disagree with closing down Guantanamo until they have a plan for what they’re going to do with the people detained within it,” Kerik said.

“We have limited capacity in this country to house those people … We can’t afford to let them back into our society. We have a problem already with homegrown, internal terrorists. We’re going to see that problem rise as time goes on, just as it has in London, in Europe. We don’t need to take people out of Guantanamo and stick them back into society here in this country…

“These are people who, if you interviewed them today, would say we’re going to do everything we can to create the demise of the U.S. and the Western way of life. Why would you want them here?”

Martella asked Kerik what he would have done about escalating drug violence along the Mexican border if he had taken the job as Homeland Security Secretary.

“Drugs coming out of Mexico into the United States has been a problem for many many years,” Kerik told Newsmax.

“The problem that has escalated now is the violence in Juarez, or on the Texas border. That violence spilling over into Texas has got to be stopped, and we have to do everything in our power to stop it, [even] if that means involving our military, our investigative services.

“Whatever Mexico needs in support, we’ve got to make sure they get it because it’s only going to deteriorate.”

Editor’s Note: To see the full Bernard Kerik interview, Go Here Now.

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