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August 8, 2013

Closing embassies was the right move

So, this is what all the security measures since 9/11 have been all about?

This is why we have to take our shoes off at the airport? This is why the National Security Agency is checking our emails? This is why we have the Patriot Act?

We got caught by al-Qaida with our security pants down on Sept. 11, 2001, but based on the latest news out of Yemen, we would seem to be a bit more capable of defending ourselves from terrorism.

On Tuesday, most of the personnel at the U.S. embassy in Yemen were evacuated to Germany. This followed the closing of 19 United States embassies in the Middle East and Africa to deal with an “immediate, specific threat.”

On Wednesday, according to the BBC, Yemen thwarted some nasty plans by al-Qaida, and a U.S. drone killed seven al-Qaida terrorists. The report said that al-Qaida had targeted the cities of Mukalla and Bawzeer and was going to attack two oil ports.

In addition, said Yemeni government spokesman Rageh Badi, militants were set to sabotage pipelines to “create panic among Yemini army and Yemeni security services.”

The Associated Press reported that a U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat informed it that the embassies were closed after a message from al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri to Nasser al-Wahishi — the leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — was intercepted.

Would this kind of apparent intelligence and security success have happened before 9/11? We rather doubt it.

We have given up a good deal of personal liberty to achieve additional security, and whether we deem the sacrifice worth it or not, eternal vigilance will be required as long as there is an al-Qaida. We’re going to have to be smarter than the terrorists, and take proper precautions when necessary.

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