(CNSNews.com) – Erroll Southers, President Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, said the war on terrorism and national security in general should be given “parity” with other domestic issues such as global warming, education, and the economy.
In an interview with the online how-to Web site “VideoJug” posted in April 2008 and reported on the conservative blog RedState, Southers said that while terrorism will always be a priority – because it will never go away – it should be given “parity” with other, domestic issues. (Southers’ remarks in this regard are made in the second section of the video clip here.)
“It [the war on terror] should be high on our list of priorities because of – speaking globally – the threat that exists,” Southers said. “I do think, however, it deserves to perhaps have some parity with global warming, with education, with the economy.”
Southers explained that the terror threat would continue because of “the true nature” of America’s alliances with “infidel” states such as France and Israel.
“Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel and France, countries that are seen by groups, by al Qaeda as being infidels or anti-Islamic, by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we are subject to being attacked as well.”
Southers lamented that national security would “supersede everything else,” pointing out that education and economics could not flourish in its absence. Nevertheless, Southers said that the Department of Homeland Security would be reducing its security grant programs by 50 percent – an indication, he said, that the terror threat was subsiding.
“But national security is always going to supersede everything else,” he said. “I don’t think you could have all those other entities [education, global warming action, economy] flourish in a state where the security is not felt to be confident, comfortable and intact.”
“What is interesting, though, is that next year the Department of Homeland Security has already announced that they are going to be reducing their grant funding by about 50 percent,” he said. “So that would suggest to someone like me that they have a reasonable expectation that the risk has been reduced, and they can reduce accordingly.”
Southers further said that he would like to see the money previously spent on homeland security re-directed to “those other efforts” he previously referred to: global warming, education, and the economy.
“I would hope then that funding might then go to some of those other efforts nationally that are priorities for us,” he said.