Tags: pataki | 9 | 11 | obama | attack

George Pataki: Obama Is Jeopardizing U.S. Security

Monday, 07 Sep 2009 06:47 PM

By Ashley Martella

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Eight years after the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil, the man who was governor of New York at the time, George Pataki fears that President Obama has weakened U.S. security.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Pataki says: “There is no question in my mind he is jeopardizing our security. You cannot turn terrorists loose, turn them back to where they came from, and not expect them to engage in that activity again. We’ve already seen the example of a number of Guantanamo detainees who were released and returned to the battlefield, fighting our troops, fighting others who are trying to uphold the rule of law and defend freedom. So that clearly places us in jeopardy.”

See Video: George Pataki talks about the legacy of 9/11 and how the Obama administration is jeopardizing national security - Click Here Now

The three-term Republican governor also warns the investigation and possible prosecution of CIA terrorist interrogators by Obama’s attorney general will undermine America’s national security.

“When CIA officials, CIA agents, and others who play a critical role in trying to gather the intelligence we need to prevent further attacks have to look over the shoulder about investigations and possible criminal charges, it certainly hampers our ability to get the necessary intelligence to protect ourselves,” he says.

Pataki suggests Obama is repeating the mistakes of the previous Democratic administration.

“Using the FBI and by derivation our criminal justice court system to look into this, this is exactly what happened in 1993,” he says.

“We had the towers bombed by an Islamic terrorist and rather than seeing it as an act of war by those who would attack us any chance they would get, we treated it as a criminal case, we had a trial, the trial went forward, the sheik was convicted, but it sent all the wrong messages to those who would attack us again.”

In the ’90s, the Janet Reno Justice Department reportedly issued a memo known as the “wall of silence” that prohibited the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies. Pataki says that was a contributing factor to 9/11.

“The fact that the FBI and the CIA couldn’t share information I think in retrospect clearly was one of the major problems because the terrorists, the hijackers were here in the U.S., and the FBI had some information, the CIA had different information, but they could not coordinate. And that was a self-imposed Clinton administration restriction that had tragic consequences. I fear that too many of the actions of this Obama administration have the potential, let’s hope it never happens, but have the potential to open us up to further attacks.”

By contrast, he notes that since the 9/11 attacks the Bush administration prevented any more terror attacks on the U.S. homeland.

“So take a look at the past eight years,” Pataki says, “For all the uncertainty in the world, we were safe, we were not attacked again. I fear that the Obama administration’s policies are jeopardizing our security going forward.”

Like all Americans, the memories of 9/11 are indelibly etched in the mind of then-Governor Pataki, who spent several days comforting victims and thanking selfless, heroic rescue workers at ground zero.

“I can’t think of 9/11 without feeling an incredible sense of sadness and loss. That’s the first thought that I have whenever I think of this; of the friends I lost, of the 343 firefighters who died and literally thousands of other brave Americans and really people from around the globe who died in those horrible attacks,” he recalls.

But Pataki says he has other thoughts about September 11, too.

“The tremendous strength, the tremendous courage with which New Yorkers and Americans responded.”

“We didn’t see people fleeing hours later from where the towers had stood; it was the opposite. There were thousands of people looking to get there to try to help, not just EMTs, police officers, and firefighters, but construction workers and citizens from every walk of life. And it wasn’t just from around here.”

“We had firefighters from across the country; we had volunteers from across the country who would come here looking to do what they could to help out. So I think there are really, two stories to September 11. One is the tremendous sorrow and sense of loss and the anger at those evil terrorists who attacked us and killed so many of our friends and colleagues.

"But there’s also the sense that we should have of the pride and the courage and the strength and the unity with which New Yorkers and Americans responded. And I don’t think that should be lost,” Pataki tells Newsmax.

What does Pataki consider the most important lesson learned from 9/11?

“I think there are a number of lessons we learned, but one that’s important to me is that we as Americans believe in the rule of law and believe in freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to worship as we see fit, and we tend to think of those as universal values.

"On September 11 we learned that not only there are those who did not share those values but those who would attack us because of our belief in those values. And because of that, we must know that we have to be eternally vigilant and do everything we can to promote the rule of law and freedom around the globe, but at the same time to be vigilant in defense of our own freedom.

"We were attacked before, there are those who want to attack us again, and we can never stop that vigilance, stop that understanding that in this globe of more than 6 billion people, there are still those who want to attack the United States of America,” Pataki points out.

Elected to various political offices since 1981, Pataki was twice considered as a presidential candidate in 2000 and 2008. He has been out to Iowa this year. Does that mean he might be considering a run for the White House in 2012?

“Right now everybody’s looking at 2010 and we still have the 2009 elections coming up. Right here in New York we have an important mayor’s race and a number of other races across the state and in 2010 I think it’s very important that the Republicans, if they can’t gain control of the Senate, certainly take away the filibuster-proof majority that the Democrats have and try to win back control of the House.”

“It’s not just on national security and foreign policy issues where I’m concerned about the course of the Obama administration. Look at the 9 trillion dollar deficits; look at the income tax increases that will happen if we don’t see a change in Congress in the very near future. Look at the efforts to have the most significant part of our economy, healthcare, run from Washington, D.C., by nameless bureaucrats. So 2012 will be a critical election, but let’s go win some in 2010 and while we’re at it win some this November as well.

So he has no ambitions to run for president?

“Right now I’m simply looking to try to help Republicans and conservatives to win races this year and to win races next year.”

See Video: George Pataki talks about the legacy of 9/11 and how the Obama administration is jeopardizing national security - Click Here Now

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