Shorting intel: Chilling warning
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Terrorist-killing drone strikes carry an often overlooked cost: lost opportunities to gather intelligence about terrorist plots. And the Obama administration's renunciation of interrogation techniques that helped foil at least 10 such plots exacerbates that problem.
So says Jose A. Rodriguez. Some think the former CIA counterterrorism chief and best-selling "Hard Measures" author could be CIA director in a Romney administration.
He tells The Washington Free Beacon that there's no U.S. system or facilities in place today for questioning captured terrorist leaders: "They are not taking prisoners in Guantanamo, (and) the black sites have been closed." He blames the Obama administration for America's terror intelligence gap.
President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech "unequivocally" prohibiting "torture" outraged and disgusted him and his colleagues. They believed they had proper authorization for harsh interrogations.
Limiting interrogators to Army field manual techniques means America's intelligence about terrorist plots is increasingly outdated, and "we're going to pay for this (lack of intelligence) at some point," Mr. Rodriguez says.
It's a chilling warning — and another Obama administration shortcoming.
Who would hand students billions of dollars for college — with too little regard for their financial need or academic aptitude — and never check their grades or graduation rates? The U.S. Department of Education, that's who, and in the form of Pell Grants.
A new study from the nonprofit John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy says the cost of Pell Grants, established in 1972 to help low-income students, ballooned to $36 billion in 2010-11. Of America's 16.4 million 2009-10 undergraduates, 9.6 million received Pell Grants and just 39 percent of them were dependents -- sure signs of lost low-income focus.
Only about half of Pell Grant recipients graduate within six years. But Education officials don't even track recipients' academic progress.
The study recommends tightening eligibility rules to refocus on "very low-income" students, requiring minimum SAT verbal and math scores (850) and high school grade-point averages (2.5), limiting Pell Grants' use to four years of full-time college and publicizing regular reports on recipients' progress to evaluate effectiveness.
These moves would save billions of dollars, help curb tuition increases, assist the best-prepared students most in need and get the program back to basics — all needed for Pell Grants to make the grade.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Obamacare dramatically increases costs for some small businesses
- Curtain call: Final wintry blast due to hit Western Pa.
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Sandusky’s wife says she believes he’s innocent
- Frustrated, frightened Ukrainians debate what U.S. must do
- Starkey: No shame for Robert Morris
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?