THE SEPTEMBER 11 terrorist attacks on the United States will go down in history as the day of failure of intelligence. Without doubt, because of the failure of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, three speeding aircraft commandeered by terrorists slammed into the global seats of commerce and defense.

US President George W. Bush has sent a very clear message that terrorism will not prosper. He has rallied the world against terrorism.

What is particularly worrisome however is that America’s awesome military might does not seem to translate to intelligence might. How else could the world’s superpower has been caught unaware by the terrorist attacks if not for a very weak or incompetent intelligence?

In contrast, the Philippines, which has pledged to support Bush’s war, has a weak military and a barely adequate intelligence. But still, our intelligence is still muddling through. This should at least console us in these anxious times.

The recent threat to bomb UST is a case in point. The threat may be real or not, but authorities are quick to meet it. Despite the momentary inconvenience, people must bear it all since as the oldest Catholic academic institution in Asia, UST fits the symbolic requirements of Islamic militants.

The National Bureau of Investigation has started to closely monitor the activities of Islamic militants in the Philippines, after President Arroyo placed the entire nation under red alert shortly after the US attacks. Malacañang has also convened the National Security Council to discuss and define the parameters of Philippine support to the US initiative.

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But these efforts must not fall into ningas cogon. Vigilance and consistency are paramount in the war against terrorism.

Intelligence plays a major role in this new war. With all sectors working hand in hand in preventing gruesome incidents like the New York and Pentagon disasters, terrorism will be checked. It is disheartening however that Filipinos must make ends meet with the limited resources of local intelligence. But they must take comfort in the fact that despite the paucity of resources, local intelligence is not doing as badly as American intelligence. Of course, if it is true that terrorism is backed by the millions of Osama Bin Laden, then the country faces an enemy that has no soul but has lots of money. Hopefully, intelligence these days would not be artificial.


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