Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shades of Failures

In the wake of the national focus on the Boston bombings, you may have missed the other act of terror that was committed this week:

WASHINGTON - Police have a suspect in mind as they investigate a letter mailed to Sen. Roger Wicker that tested positive for poisonous ricin, a Senate colleague said.

"The person that is a suspect writes a lot of letters to members," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Tuesday as she emerged from a classified briefing.

Authorities declined to comment on a suspect or any other aspect of the investigation being led by Capitol Police and the FBI after tests indicated that a letter mailed to the Mississippi Republican's Washington office contained the potentially deadly toxin. The letter was intercepted at a Senate mail facility in Prince George's County, Md., just outside Washington, said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the Senate's Democratic leadership.

First, let’s note that no one was in danger from this attack – except for the union men and women who deliver your mail. Once again, union members are on the front lines.

Second, for all the bluster and braggadocio that right-wingers have displayed this week about Obama’s “lack of oversight” in homeland security (as if), we were reminded of the single unsolved terrorist incident in the past century: the anthrax attacks.

Among senators there was a mix of apprehension and appreciation that security protocols — put into place after anthrax mail attacks following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — seemed to work.

The 2001 anthrax-laced letters appeared in post offices, newsrooms and the offices of then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Two Senate office buildings were closed during that investigation. Overall, five people died and 17 others became ill. The FBI attributed the attack to a government scientist who committed suicide in 2008.

Five people dead, no outrage. Three people dead from an apparent domestic act of terror? Outrage.

I highlight the domestic terror angle, because if it is, for Obama to have no blame would require the Federal government to do the job of local and state law enforcement officials.

You may as well blame Obama for the Wall Street bombing, too, if you’re going to pick nits. After all, he has a time machine.