Tags: What | Was | Gore's | Role?

What Was Al Gore's Role?

Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM

Did Al Gore let the airlines off the hook so he and Bill Clinton could have a little more campaign cash?

Here's the story, according to NewsMax.com and the Boston Globe.

After TWA Flight 800 crashed in 1996, Al Gore was named chairman of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety. It came to be known as the "Gore commission."

So, on Sept. 9 of that year, the Gore commission produced a preliminary report – one that proposed several measures to improve security at airports. The proposals included matching every piece of baggage to a passenger and better training for airport screeners.

But the airlines complained. They said the new procedures would cost too much money. They said that more rigorous screening and baggage matching would take too much time, causing more delays and missed connections.

Ten days after the preliminary report came out, Gore sent a letter to Carol Hallett, an airline lobbyist. He promised her that the commission's findings would not result in any loss of revenue.

Within the next two weeks, the Democratic National Committee received a series of contributions from the following airlines:

TWA: $40,000 American: $265,000 Delta: $120,000 United: $115,000 Northwest: $87,000

That's a total of $627,000 for the 1996 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. The Boston Globe notes that "over the preceding 10-week period, the airlines gave the Democrats less than half that sum."

Then, after the election, Gore issued a draft of his final report. All of the security measures from the preliminary report were gone, according to one insider. Two members of the Gore commission balked. So did CIA Director John Deutch. Gore pulled the draft final report.

The final report came out a month later. It included the tough security requirements of the preliminary report – but gave no deadline for meeting them. Basically, without a timetable, the report wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

It doesn't end there. Gore capped his commission's report with a lie. In a meeting with other commission members in 1997, Gore said he would allow room for dissent by those who disagreed with the report. But, minutes later, he announced to Bill Clinton and the public that the report was the work of a unanimous commission!

The true Clinton-Gore legacy is starting to emerge, my friends, and it ain't pretty. It's a legacy that includes gutting intelligence budgets and letting the airlines off the hook in exchange for political contributions. Would 6,700 people be alive today if the CIA had the necessary resources and the airlines weren't so damned lax on security? We'll never know.

It's a total of $15 billion. Of that total $10 billion is in the form of loan guarantees and $5 billion is in the form of a cash grant.

Now … remember the idea (not mine) I presented last week? Just why didn't this catch hold in Congress? What would have been wrong with the airlines providing the federal government with $5 billion in travel vouchers for government employees and military personnel in return for the cash?

It seems that some good ideas just don't get off the ground.

Can you believe that it now seems clear that the FBI knew many years ago that men closely identified with Osama bin Laden were training in this country to become pilots? They knew this, and apparently did nothing!

A "senior government official" says that they knew of these men, but there was no information to show that they were planning suicide attacks.

Well, then, tell me: Just what in the hell WERE they training for? Didn't someone sit down and say, "Look, bin Laden doesn't have any airplanes, so these guys would have to get airplanes somewhere else. Bin Laden doesn't have any airports, so they would have to use airports somewhere else." Now, just what does that add up to? It adds up to taking someone else's airplane and using someone else's airport, doesn't it? And just who is bin Laden's main target? That would be us, the U.S., wouldn't it? Just what else could they have been training for? Penny-a-pound introductory rides?

Couldn't help but notice a few prominent missing names from the all-star spectacular on network television Friday night. Where was Alec Baldwin? Living overseas, I presume. And what about Babs? Why wasn't Barbra Streisand there to belt out a tune or two? And Don Henley? Who knows. Maybe they think their presence would have amounted to some grudging degree of approval for Bush's efforts thus far. That would be just too great a price to pay for these leftist clowns.

This whole "We need to look at why they hate America" crap is nothing but a way for the left to continue its assault on capitalism and individualism.

I'll tell you why Islamic fanatics hate America. They hate America because they damned well know that in the parade of the world's cultures America is right up there at the front riding the golden stallions while the Taliban is at the end of the parade with a wheelbarrow and a shovel.

And just why is America at the front of the parade? Because this is the one country that, more than any other, has honored the individual and has (thus far) worked to preserve individual freedom and economic liberty. This has led to the development of the richest and freest culture the world has ever known – a culture that has created advances in science, medicine, agriculture and technology that have lifted the living conditions of people around the globe. It can be said that the only people who are not able to share in the incredible riches that America has produced are those who live in regimes where leaders are more interested in preserving their own dictatorial power than they are in the welfare of their subjects.

They hate America because we are everything they want to be, but never can be so long as they practice the rule of oppression instead of the rule of freedom.

Another thing … OK, so the vast majority of the world's Muslims don't approve of the terrorist activities of the fanatics. Fine. When do we start hearing the voices of condemnation from the Islamic world? When do you stop teaching your children how to hate America in your schools? Just wondering.

Did you hear that the founder of Oracle has volunteered the services of his high-tech company to help create a national ID card? The Drudge Report is telling us that a proposal for a national ID card is already on Bush's desk.

It's on the way, folks. Get ready.

On the one hand, you can't fault the concept of being able to quickly identify who is and who is not an American citizen. Even those who are most adamant in their opposition to a national ID card can see that there would be security benefits from such a venture.

The downside? Privacy and liberty.

Yes, the national ID card will be used with some effectiveness to fight international crime and terrorism. But in the midst of that fight our politicians will remain politicians. They will still fall in love with power and they will still propose any means possible and legal to make sure that the power they so love will always be theirs.

The more information you have on the people you rule, the more secure your position is. What better way to develop and preserve endless pages of information on every American citizen than an electronically coded national ID card?

Just take financial transactions as an example. Right now the federal government has in place a little rule that requires banks and other financial institutions to notify the government if you make a cash deposit or withdrawal of $10,000 or more. A few years ago a Democratic senator introduced a bill into the U.S. Senate that would allow a law enforcement officer to seize cash from an otherwise law-abiding individual if the cash that individual was carrying added up to more than $10,000. Just a few years ago the Clinton administration was proposing a "know your customer" program that would require all financial institutions to develop a conduct profile on each customer and report to the federal government when any customer deviated from that profile. In recent years some government bureaucrats have suggested giving the government access to ATM and credit card computer networks.

Now, bear in mind almost all of these privacy invasions have been based on our government's need to "fight the war on drugs." Now we have an even more insidious war to fight – a war against international terrorists who will plan for years for the chance to kill a few thousand innocent Americans.

So – look for the national ID, and then look for politicians to quickly expand its use far beyond merely identifying who is and who is not a citizen. The time will come when you must use your ID for every financial transaction, for interstate travel and to obtain prescription drugs and receive medical care.

The idea occurred to me that we could have the enabling legislation say that the ID card could not be used for any purpose other than proof of citizenship. Then I thought about our Social Security numbers. They aren't supposed to be used for anything other than to identify our Social Security accounts, are they? So much for that idea.

Every one of us in this country might as well be wearing a bull's-eye on our chests. We need to gear up for a war – because once the bombs start dropping on Afghanistan, retaliation by terrorists is a certainty. One senator who attended a closed-door briefing of the Select Intelligence Committee said it's not a matter of "if" the terrorists will strike again, but "when."

With that in mind, it's time for President Bush and John Ashcroft to work on expanding, not hampering, the ability of Americans to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

A few modest proposals to get the debate going:

1. Let's start with arming commercial airline pilots and allowing armed sky marshals. We've gone over this one. Right now the airlines and the federal government trust pilots to move hundreds of tons of aircraft and hundreds of people from one place to another – yet they don't trust pilots with firearms. This just doesn't make sense. Think of the deterrent effect an armed crew would have against a would-be hijacker. Remember, El Al, Israel's national airline, has had sky marshals for decades – and no El Al aircraft has been hijacked in more than 30 years.

2. Allow law-abiding Americans with concealed-weapons licenses to board aircraft with their guns. Special training for an "aircraft endorsement"? Sure, no problem. Then give them frangible ammunition so a stray shot won't punch a hole in the fuselage. Will a hijacker be so bold if he thinks the guy sitting beside him could be armed?

3. Allow national concealed carry. Make every state a "shall-issue" state with uniform procedures for obtaining a concealed-weapons license. Create uniform laws concerning the interstate transport of firearms. Allow concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states. Right now the laws are a jumbled mess, and only about 30 states allow their residents to carry concealed weapons. The rest either don't allow concealed carry or make them nearly impossible for the average citizen to obtain. Studies have shown that mass shootings tend to drop by 84 percent after states enact "shall-issue" concealed carry legislation.

4. Repeal the Clinton Crime Bill's absurd ban on high-capacity magazines. Most Americans can still own magazines that were made before the 1994 ban, but they're expensive and harder to find. Handguns and rifles nowadays come with magazines that are limited to just 10 rounds. Terrorists aren't known for their adherence to the law – so why should we assume that they'll only have wimpy 10-round magazines for their AK-47s? If they're going to start something in America, then American civilians should be able to meet them with the maximum firepower available.

5. Allow Americans with concealed-weapons permits to carry on school grounds. In the vast majority of states, this is still a no-no. Schools in Israel were a favorite target of terrorists in the early 1970s until Israel started arming and training their teachers. School shootings in Israel are virtually nonexistent – the terrorists have moved on in search of softer targets.

Yes, the gun grabbers are going to raise all kinds of hell over these proposals. They'll say that arming Americans will only result in a bloodbath on the streets. Road rage and air rage will boil over into mass shootings.

Yet the evidence points to an overwhelmingly positive deterrent effect. Predators of all kinds avoid areas where they know people have guns. They'll avoid these areas because they don't want to get shot while they're committing a crime. This applies equally to burglars, muggers, rapists ... and terrorists.

Our friends in Israel have had to deal with terrorism since the country's founding. Maybe it's time we listened to their advice.

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Did Al Gore let the airlines off the hook so he and Bill Clinton could have a little more campaign cash? Here's the story, according to NewsMax.com and the Boston Globe. After TWA Flight 800 crashed in 1996, Al Gore was named chairman of the White House Commission on...
Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM
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