Strom, of Roanoke, is a retired sergeant of the New York Police Department, Intel Division.
In reading your paper, I noticed similar comments by FBI agent Kevin Foust ("FBI agent to take job on Va. Tech police force," April 4 news story) and later U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy with respect to building bridges and relationships within the Muslim community. No one would argue that fostering relationships as it relates to gaining intelligence, regardless of the source, is a good position to take, given Heaphy and Foust's professional standing in the Roanoke community.
In reading "Face of terrorism is multi-hued" (April 10 commentary), Heaphy goes into great detail on how we cannot become single-minded and focus on Muslim radicalization given that the "vast majority of Muslims who live in the United States are proud Americans, modeling their core values on which this nation was built and as offended by threats to our safety and freedom as any other citizen." That might play well with people in Iowa and maybe Roanoke, but the comments are merely pandering in nature and not factually based.
The fact Heaphy later comments on how many of the intelligence reports of suspected terrorist activity come from Muslim Americans is only a half measure and contradictory of his initial assessment with respect to "single-minded focus." In his attempt to qualify his position, Heaphy repeats a lecturing argument that we need to be more tolerant, as if the facts of past terrorist acts where committed in a vacuum.
The problem with career bureaucrats is their insatiable desire to be politically correct at the expense of public safety.
In both WTC-1 and WTC-2, the evidence was overwhelming and yet, the FBI and others opted to allow the known enemies of the state to continue to plot and plan the killing of innocent Americans. More recently, in the Fort Hood massacre, the FBI and the U.S. Army knew all about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's radical nature, including 14 emails sent to a known terrorist with a "Capture or Kill" bounty on his head, and yet, they looked the other way.
Again, pontificating at the podium might earn points with your boss but it's not what the American people deserve. We need to go where the evidence takes us, and if it leads to a terrorist who happens to be Muslim or a lone wolf who is just hell-bent on killing innocent Americans, just do it.
Perhaps if Heaphy or Foust visited the Intel Fusion Center in New York City for a few days, and got a crash course in counterterrorism or, better still, visited the families of lost loved ones across America, they might have a different perspective.
It's OK to have an opinion, but by taking the position as a professional expert, it should at least be based in reality and not warm fuzzy emotion.