Calling Massachusetts too complacent about the terrorist threat, Governor Mitt Romney hopes to enlist average citizens to help prevent attacks wants a new “intelligence network” at the state and local level to sift though crime reports and other statistics that might help uncover terrorist plots, the Boston Globe reports.
“We’ve fallen into complacency,” Romney said at a Washington conference sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government. “We need to engage the citizens as part of a prevention effort.”
The governor yesterday alluded to a new proposal he will be pushing to give state officials the training and the mandate to analyze intelligence data the same way the federal government does. He said such local “intelligence networks” can identify threats and then feed critical information up the chain of command to Washington.
Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn said the details of Romney’s plan have not been worked out. He said lessons have been learned in Britain and Israel, both with longer experience combatting domestic terrorism, that inroads can often be made against terrorists by stepping up criminal investigations of credit card fraud, identity theft, drug trafficking, and other crimes commonly committed by terrorists to support themselves.
Romney, who cochairs the National Governor’s Association’s Homeland Security Task Force, acknowledged that two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “It’s very difficult to think of a constant threat. It’s alien to most of us to think of people who would blow themselves up.” Romney said Massachusetts is engaged in a top-to-bottom assessment of homeland-security needs across all 351 cities towns, and when finished, will seek additional federal help.