Sunday, June 15, 2003

Ex-security aide blasts terror war

"THINGS WERE dicey," said Rand Beers, recalling the stack of classified reports about plots to shoot, bomb, burn and poison Americans. He stared at the color-coded threats for five minutes. Then he called his wife: I'm quitting.

Beers's resignation surprised Washington, but what he did next was even more astounding. Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, he volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know?

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out."

However it was viewed inside the administration, onlookers saw it as a rare Washington event. "I can't think of a single example in the last 30 years of a person who has done something so extreme,” said Paul C. Light, a scholar with the Brookings Institution. "He's not just declaring that he's a Democrat. He's declaring that he's a Kerry Democrat, and the way he wants to make a difference in the world is to get his former boss out of office."

Shortly after that, Beers joined the Kerry campaign. He had briefly considered a think tank or an academic job but realized that he "never felt so strongly about something in my life" than he did about changing current U.S. policies. Of the Democratic candidates, Kerry offered the greatest expertise in foreign affairs and security issues, he decided. Like Beers, Kerry had served in Vietnam. As a civil servant, Beers liked Kerry's emphasis on national service.

Looks like John Kerry just pulled a rabbit out of his hat! Strong on National Security - John Kerry!


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