Sunday, December 05, 2004

Thompson Resigns with Warning

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy Thompson resigned on Friday, but not without issuing an ominous warning:
"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do," he said.
Actually, one wonders why he felt compelled to point this vulnerability out. As a general rule, it's a bad idea to give the enemy ideas, even ideas the enemy has almost certainly considered. On the other hand, perhaps Secretary Thompson has attempted to increase security around the food supply only to find his efforts frustrated by a lack of action from the administration, or - worse - a lack of attention to his warnings inside the White House. In that case, a public admonition would be well warranted.

In any event, it would seem that the probability of such an attack against the U.S. food supply might be greatly mitigated by controlling U.S. borders and preventing potential terrorists from gaining access to the country in the first place. Millions of migrant workers pour across the U.S. Mexico border hoping to find work on U.S. farms and ranches. Aside from depressing the wages of American farm workers, this human tidal wave could very well conceal any number of Islamist terrorists plannning to contaminate the food supply. There can be no domestic security until the border is secured. Unfortunately the Bush administration hasn't even the slightest inclination to try:
"We're a large country, with all kinds of avenues where somebody could inflict harm," said [President] Bush, asked about the issue after an Oval Office meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. "We've made a lot of progress protecting our country, and there's more work to be done, and this administration is committed to doing it."

In remarks announcing his resignation, Secretary Thompson noted that "only a very minute amount" of food products entering the U.S. from abroad is currently tested for toxins. "We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with," Thompson said.
Asked to respond to Thompson's comments, Bush neither criticized them nor implied that the food supply is safer than Thompson asserted.
Well, that's certainly reassuring. Isn't it?


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