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The Daily Tar Heel

New Post Aims to Up Security

The Cabinet-level office will coordinate the FBI, CIA and 40 other federal bureaus to protect the United States from future terrorist attacks.

Bush appointed Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania's Republican governor, to oversee the office.

"He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and to respond to any attacks that may come," Bush said of Ridge's duties during an address to Congress last week.

Ridge was considered as a potential vice presidential candidate by both George W. Bush and former presidential candidate Bob Dole in the 1996 election.

He served as a Pennsylvania Congressional representative for five terms and had a mostly moderate voting record.

Bush is not the first president to create a Cabinet-level position to specifically deal with a national crisis.

While the new office seems to have the approval of Congress and the public, the post may be subject to future scrutiny.

"This appointment indicated that the people in the United States have to forgo certain liberties and practices, like search and seizure in the airports," said Bill Sabo, political science professor at UNC-Asheville.

"In the long run it will heighten the controversy surrounding the choice or the trade-off between individual liberties and some notions of increased security and law and order."

UNC-Chapel Hill political science Professor George Rabinowitz said he thinks the position means the country will be investing a lot more money in internal intelligence.

He added that Ridge might face problems in running the office smoothly because several of the agencies he will oversee already have been criticized for not preventing the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. "(Ridge might face) problems in recruiting and getting together a staff of people that will do this effectively," Rabinowitz said.

Some experts have expressed concern that the new position will have conflicts with certain agencies it must deal with, such as the FBI.

"The new position is going to set off a bureaucratic war between the newly created office, the Department of Justice and the FBI," Sabo said. He added this may raise the issue of domestic spying, a concern in the 1960s and 1970s.

"As time passes and the immediacy of the threat recedes to the background, the issue of security and individual rights and liberties will surface again," Sabo said. "The real issue is the trade off or the balance between the two."

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