Gov. Romney: Wiretap Mosques, Monitor Foreign Students


Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney suggested wiretapping mosques and conducting surveillance of foreign students as he issued a broad call yesterday for the federal government to devote far more money and attention to domestic intelligence gathering, the Boston Globe says. Romney told the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., that the U.S States needs to radically rethink how it guards itself against terrorism. ”How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?” he said, referring to foreign students. ”Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them? How about people who are in settings — mosques, for instance — that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror. Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what’s going on?”

As he ponders a 2008 presidential run, Romney has positioned himself as a homeland security expert. His message is that the U.S. needs to shift its focus from response to prevention: Instead of spending billions on training and equipment to react to an attack, he argues, the country ought to work on stopping one. Ali Noorani of the Massachusetts Immigrants and Refugee Advocacy Coalition called the methods Romney suggested misguided and ineffective. Tracking people based on their ethnicity, he said, will only sow resentment among immigrant communities and prevent their cooperation with authorities. ”Blanket eavesdropping and blanket profiling only erodes the safety and security of our country,” Noorani said. ”People who really know what national security is and what intelligence is realize that we need to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.”


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