Hamilton says terrorism still a threat

By By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

Lee Hamilton, vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission and a former congressman, said the United States is facing persistent and evolving threats from terrorists.

Hamilton opened the College of Social and Behavioral Science’s 12th annual Siciliano Forum at the Rice-Eccles Tower on Wednesday. As director and president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Hamilton addressed the reasons the United States has not successfully captured terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

“(al-Qaida) is the single most dangerous terrorism organization and it should be taken seriously,” Hamilton said.
“(bin Laden) is surrounded by supporters and we have a pattern of underestimating him.”

In order to fight terrorism, the United States needs all the right tools to defeat terrorists, he said8212;not just military tools but diplomatic, financial and economic as well.

Hamilton addressed the needs of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and said he recognized that we need to extend to them the same aspects of a quality life that we as Americans enjoy, which he said include good health, education, the ability to marry the person of your choice and a job.

One measure of our progress since Sept. 11, Hamilton said, is that we have not been attacked on American soil since the 2001 attacks.

But despite this small step, much needs to be improved, he said.

Immigration, cyber security, state, local and government relations and aviation standards all need to be improved, Hamilton said.

“Tomorrow’s (lectures) will talk about fighting terrorism while conforming to the law,” he said.

The ability of the government to probe into people’s lives is incredible, Hamilton said, but that does not mean it should do it without control.

“We need not to choose between civil liberties quarantined to us by the United States Constitution and anti-terrorism surveillance,” Hamilton said.

He stressed the importance of information sharing between state, local and federal agencies.

“So much still needs to be done,” Hamilton said. “We are safer but not yet as safe as we can be or should be.”

Dean Steve Ott of the College of Social and Behavioral Science described Hamilton’s address as “powerful, sobering, scary and hopeful.”

The forum will continue this afternoon with the highlighted lecture,”How Far Should We Go in Protecting Ourselves From Terrorists,” and will be moderated by Margaret Warner, co-anchor of America Abroad on Public Radio International and senior analyst with “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS.

The lecture will be formatted in three 20-minute increments and will feature noted scholars from the U and Concordia University in Montreal.

Bruce Hoffman, a senior scholar at the U’s Institute of Public and International Affairs, will address the issue of whether terrorism works, and what the implications are for the future of war and law.

U law professor Amos Guiora will speak on “Self Defense: A Critical Re-Examination.”

Fellow law professor Chibli Mallat will contribute to the lecture, speaking on non-violence as an effective policy.

According to the description provided by the college, the lecture will address how governments navigate the line between public safety and democratic ideals in regards to combating perceived threats from terrorists worldwide.

Aleta Tew, the project administrator for the College of Social and Behavioral Science, said Warner will pose some questions to the three speakers. After the tri-lecture there will be a question-and-answer session from the audience.

The lecture is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in the Waldemer P. Reed Auditorium in OSH and is open to the public.
The forum will continue later in the day with panel discussions.

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Erik Daenitz

Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton gave the keynote address, “Homeland Security