The good governor has the right idea in the following article from the Boston Globe
. An idea whose time has come.
Wiretap mosques, Romney suggests Pushes gathering of intelligence
By Scott Helman, Globe Staff September 15, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Governor Mitt Romney raised the prospect of wiretapping mosques and conducting surveillance of foreign students in Massachusetts, as he issued a broad call yesterday for the federal government to devote far more money and attention to domestic intelligence gathering.
Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts In remarks that caused alarm among civil libertarians and advocates for immigrants rights, Romney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation that the United States needs to radically rethink how it guards itself against terrorism
.''How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?"
he said, referring to foreign students who attend universities in Massachusetts. ''Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them?"''How about people who are in settings -- mosques, for instance -- that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror,"
Romney continued. ''Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on?"
His latest message is that the United States needs to shift its focus from response to prevention:
Instead of spending billions on training and equipment to react to an attack,
he argues, the country ought to work on stopping one.''It is virtually impossible to have a homeland security system based upon the principles only of protecting key assets and response,"
he told an audience of about 100. ''The key to a multilayered strategy begins with effective prevention, and, for me, prevention begins with intelligence and counterterror activity
But that activity is deeply troubling to civil rights groups. Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrants and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, called the methods Romney suggested misguided and ineffective. Tracking people based on their ethnicity, he said, will only sow resentment among immigrant communities and prevent their cooperation with authorities.
''Blanket eavesdropping and blanket profiling only erodes the safety and security of our country," Noorani said. ''People who really know what national security is and what intelligence is realize that we need to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities."
Elyes Yaich, president of the Islamic Society of Northeastern University, said that foreign students, especially those from Islamic countries, already face unfair scrutiny coming to the United States and that subjecting them to specialized monitoring would further invade their right to privacy.