Proof that Terrorists Pose No Threat to This Country?

On Thursday, February 28, the FBI announced that it would investigate whether Roger Clemens lied in his public testimony before a congressional committee on February 13 or in a related deposition on February 5. This action occurred only one day after leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the Justice Department they were not sure that Clemens had told the truth.

This action constitutes strong evidence that either (1) the government does not believe that terrorists pose a threat to this country or (2) it does believe such a threat exists, yet chooses to act in a criminally negligent or irresponsible manner in its efforts to prevent a terrorist attack.

 The FBI, we are authoritatively informed, is the government’s principal agency responsible for discovering and neutralizing terrorists inside this country. Like every other agency, it has limited resources. If it assigns agents or expends budgetary or other resources in an investigation of Clemens, it renders those agents and resources unavailable for anti-terrorist efforts, and therefore it reduces the likelihood that terrorists will be discovered and neutralized prior to an attack.

 An investigation of Clemens’ truthfulness in his congressional testimony and the related deposition has nothing to do with preserving or promoting the health, safety, or well-being of the American people. It has nothing to do with national security or any other substantial matter. The subject of Clemens’ testimony actually lies outside the government’s constitutional authority, although this fact obviously did not prevent the House committee from acting beyond its delegated powers when it interrogated him about his use of certain (legal) substances in his physical training regimen.

If any investigation is called for, it is an investigation of why members of Congress and employees of the executive branch of government are spending time and other resources, at public expense, in a manifestly frivolous way and, perhaps, in a way that increases the risk of terrorist attack on this country.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the same logic I am applying here with regard to the Clemens investigation may be applied to 100,000 other matters. In each case, the government uses publicly provided resources in ways that do nothing to diminish the threat of terrorist attack on this country. Worse, in the overwhelming majority of its actions, the government actually destroys wealth or diminishes public liberties for no reason other than the aggrandizement of government functionaries and the enrichment or other benefit of privileged private persons or groups.

In sum, the question would seem to be, Is this country in danger or not? And if it truly is in danger, the question becomes, Why is the government squandering taxpayer-financed resources in so many outrageous ways and necessarily exposing the public to greater risk of terrorist attack as a result of its negligent or deliberately irresponsible actions? In short, if the country is in danger, why isn’t the government acting as if it is?

Robert Higgs is Retired Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Founding Editor of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
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