Republican Congressman Curt Weldon from the 7th Congressional District spoke to students, staff, the mayor of West Chester and President Adler on Sept. 12 about his disappointment in the top U.S. intelligence agencies like the FBI and CIA.He feels that these intelligence agencies did not act on top-secret information that could have prevented terrorist attacks on the United States, like Sept. 11, 2001.
Congressman Weldon is a former West Chester University student who graduated in 1969 with a special interest in Russian Studies. He speaks Russian and says he has a special place for the Russian Club in his heart. He also hastwo children that have graduated from WCU and he truly believes in the state higher education system. He said he knows that WCU is a good school. He chose to speak here becausehe likes it so much, even though he is highly requested to speak all over.
After graduation, Weldon became an elementary school teacher in Delaware County before moving on to local politics and eventually being elected into Congress. He said his main goal is to do his job well and serve the people that have elected him.
Weldon spoke of criticisms about the U.S. Government. He said the United States is not sensitive enough to other nations cultures, that intelligence is the number one method of preventing terrorism and that intelligence agencies like the FBI and CIA have not worked together in the past exchanging information efficiently.
He also said that billions of dollars are spent on research in the CIA but that citizens do not hold the CIA accountable for anything that goes wrong in the field because Congress and the government in general are scared to question such authority.
He said Americans need to question these upper management authorities because humans do make mistakes. He gave a lot of examples showing that human error is possible and intelligence is not as good as it is thought to be in this country, as was shown in 1992 when the CIA was not able to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union.
His frustration with the high administrations in the U.S. Government helped him decide to write a book about his opinions. He decided it was important that people have the information he knew in order for them to question the government themselves and not just accept everything they are told. “He was very brave for the criticisms he made,” stated Ann Horner, a first-year political science major.
Among some of the advice he gave, he encouraged everyone present that morning to be more aware of the way we treat those of other cultures and to be sensitive to the fact that not all people in the world are like us. One of his major criticisms is that U.S. officials do not put themselves in the shoes of those officials they are talking to from foreign countries.
The information in his book, “Countdown to Terror: The Top Secret Information That Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America… And How the CIA Has Ignored It,” basically searches for answers from our government. It questions why certain “secret” information was not acted upon and why some agencies do not work together more efficiently and take certain individuals seriously.
One example he talkedabout was about a man, known only by the name Ali, who knew certain things about what was going to happen in the Middle East, however. No one from the CIA would take him seriously because he supposedly got his information from “open sources” like newspapers and radio.
Weldon challenged the CIA to prove that very fact and they could not; they would just not believe what he was telling them. They did not trust him. Why? That is one of the answers he is searching for.
Weldon finished by saying that he will try to continue to do his job to the best of his ability and to serve us, the people who elected him, in any way he could. He received a standing ovation.