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Fmr. CIA officer says counterinsurgency tactics should be used against domestic extremists

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Former CIA Officer Robert Grenier has been vocal recently, advocating that “domestic extremists such as those who stormed the Capitol” on January 6 be treated as an insurgency.

“We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen,” Grenier warned in a recent op-ed for The New York Times.

In 2001, Grenier was the CIA Station Chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He later became the CIA’s Iraq mission manager and then director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2006.

In an interview with NPR this week, Grenier explained how the country should respond to this “insurgency” based on his experiences overseas.

“I don’t want to be one to suggest that somehow the United States is going to in any way resemble Iraq or Afghanistan at the height of violence. But what I think is useful is to have some way of thinking about the problem and thinking through the elements of the solution,” Genier said.

He added, “So I think as in any insurgency situation, you have committed insurgents who are typically a relatively small proportion of the affected population. But what enables them to carry forward their program is a large number of people from whom they can draw tacit support. And that’s what I’m primarily concerned with here. I think what is most important is that we drive a wedge between those violent individuals and the people who may otherwise see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf.”

“So I think as in any insurgency situation, you have committed insurgents who are typically a relatively small proportion of the affected population. But what enables them to carry forward their program is a large number of people from whom they can draw tacit support. And that’s what I’m primarily concerned with here. I think what is most important is that we drive a wedge between those violent individuals and the people who may otherwise see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf.”

Grenier then emphasized the need for a “national conversation” to take place, saying “…it’s all of us who really need to be engaging with one another in a very sincere way, admitting what we don’t know and trying to seek out the truth together. Because without that, I think that there’s a level of distrust that is not only unfortunate for the politics in this country, but will also provide a basis for sporadic but endemic violence in this country.”

On top of adopting a “proper national tone,” Grenier argues it must be made clear to the “insurgents” that their leader lost the election. That includes the “national security imperative” to convict Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.

“The fact of the matter is that the most violent elements that we are concerned about right now see former President Trump as a broadly popular and charismatic symbol. He is their charismatic leader, whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not. You know, just as I saw in the Middle East that the air went out of violent demonstrations when [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein was defeated and seen to be defeated, I think the same situation applies here,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that Mr. Trump has lost. It’s very important that people see that he has lost, is a private citizen. But I think it’s extremely important that his potency as a symbol for the most violent among us is somehow addressed.”

Grenier said his thinking comes from strategies adopted by the U.S. overseas, such as in Afghanistan, where since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the country has been countering threats like al-Qaeda.

Grenier explained that “…even at the seeming height of the crisis immediately after 9/11, there really weren’t that many members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan,” adding. “And the thrust of our campaign there was, yes, to hunt down al-Qaida, but primarily to remove the supportive environment in which they were able to live and to flourish. And that meant fighting the Taliban.”

“And I think that is the heart of what we need to deal with here. Hunting down people who are criminals, that is something that which U.S. law enforcement is very well capable of doing and doing while preserving fundamental civil rights. That’s in some ways the easiest part of the problem. The difficult part of the problem is affecting the environment within which violent elements otherwise would be able to thrive.”

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’

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The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”

The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”

An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.

In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.

Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”

As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”

Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”

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