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Deadly Correct By: Andrew Whitehead and Lee Kaplan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, May 31, 2004

On April 23, 2004 the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) issued a "Suspicious Activity" alert in an internal memorandum to postal employees. The subject of the report was "Attempts to Acquire Postal Vehicles and Equipment" and dealt with a potential terror attack happening by the use of postal service vehicles.

The management communication reported on a number of attempts by persons it specifically identifies as appearing "Middle Eastern" or "Arab looking" seeking to purchase United States Postal Service (USPS) vehicles in suspicious situations. Most of the troubling incidents dealt with suspicious attempts to purchase or inquire about postal vehicles notably in areas that have a large ethnic Arab population, especially in Michigan. The report, however, was not distributed to the general public to alert them to look for such individuals.

While all Americans can understand that the USPS would actively desire to prevent post office assets falling into terrorist hands, it is important to note that the USPS did not use politically correct guidelines in writing the memo. The specific words used in the document advised personnel to look out for individuals who were "Middle Eastern looking," "Arab looking," of "Middle Eastern descent" or with "Middle Eastern or Indian accents" and to watch for a "Middle Eastern gentleman." Such descriptions would certainly not pass the test of being "politically correct."

And that is also why it is extremely significant that the document was not intended for public release. The document is blunt and comes immediately to the point in trying to prevent what could be a potential terrorist attack in our own country. It identifies the physical characteristics of those who may be plotting an attack using postal vehicles, in areas where groups are active in their verbal support of militant Islamists overseas fighting against the United States.

The document further states, "We have a continuing concern that postal vehicles could be obtained by terrorists to provide an attack delivery system." Could this forebode another anthrax attack? Chemical or biological agents? Another attack through our postal system could kill thousands of Americans, possibly even surpassing the number of those killed on 9/11.

It is notable that an agency of the U.S. Federal Government has finally issued a document that clearly indicates a threat to almost any facility in the United States, and has chosen to describe suspicious events as they actually occurred that aroused awareness of that threat. There was no attempt to whitewash the descriptions or activities of the suspicious persons involved. The USPS is the first government agency to accurately describe Middle-Eastern/Arab persons of concern accurately, without concern for being "politically correct." In short, they called it as they saw it.

To a point. There’s still the fact that the US Postal Inspection Service did not make public a crucial bit of information that outside people and organizations should have been made aware of- all in the name of political correctness. This could be significant for companies that process a lot of bulk mail and have many USPS vehicles on their property at any one time. How hard would it be to slip another USPS vehicle into the stream of vehicles entering a warehouse, a hospital or a school?

In addition, any citizen may observe what they consider to be suspicious behavior by persons around a USPS vehicle. But what if the suspicious persons are of Middle-Eastern descent? Without knowing about this alert, might the citizen be reluctant to contact authorities and risk being branded a "bigot" should their report be leaked to the press? In effect, political correctness could still play a part in the Postal Service keeping information from the public that might prevent an attack and save lives.

Today, all government agencies should have a responsibility to inform the citizenry they serve of all possible threats to their safety. The USPS plays a major part in the communications lifelines of the country and any attempt to subvert this service should be made immediately known to the public. The public needs to know why the USPS kept this communication away from them. Was it to not upset the delicate sensibilities of those who find bigotry in any public pronouncements where the suspicious persons are anything other than a member of the majority group? CAIR and the Arab-American Discrimination Committee have made it a habit to denounce any profiling of suspected terrorists as was done in this memo as "racism" and "discrimination against Muslim-Americans." But hiding basic facts in the interest of avoiding cries of racism and discrimination is irresponsible and puts the safety of the nation in jeopardy.

It is high time the U.S. government started to actively work to identify without equivocation those who pose a terrorist threat to the American people. A policy of concealing such information as described in the memo will almost certainly get people killed. The United States is in a war and needs to be honest and forthright in alerting its citizenry what to look for to prevent future terror attacks. Our lives may depend on this.

Andrew Whitehead is the Director of Anti-CAIR (ACAIR) a watchdog agency that monitors the activities of CAIR. Lee Kaplan is a contributing editor at Front Page.

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