February 26th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Financial crisis bigger national security threat than terrorism?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Worldwide economic jitters are ranking high on the CIA's list of priorities.

Financial crisis bigger national security threat than terrorism?

Migrant workers in China demolish walls to get usable brick. East Asia is among the regions that are in crisis because of the economy.

The spy agency has started briefing the White House daily about the global financial crisis, and its ripple effects on the stability of various countries.

The CIA is now giving an "Economic Intelligence Briefing" to top officials, in addition to the daily roundup of terrorist attacks and surveillance reports. This suggests the global economic crisis is a top concern when it comes to our national security.

CIA director Leon Panetta says the White House requested the daily economic briefing. He talked about the impact of the recession throughout the world and said now U.S. officials won't be surprised by the aftershocks from bank failures and rising unemployment elsewhere. The agency is focusing on many areas – including East Asia and Latin America – that are in crisis because of the economy.

Dennis Blair, the new Director of National Intelligence, said earlier this month that economic issues have pretty much replaced terrorism as the country's top security challenge. He pointed out that three European governments have fallen because of economic issues.

The economic crunch overseas now joins a long list of global concerns confronting President Obama... including the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, winding down the war in Iraq, and the never-ending conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Here’s my question to you: Which is a bigger threat to America's national security: the global financial crisis or terrorism?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Brittany from Palm Beach, Florida writes:
When things get this close to a boiling point, I am sad to say I fear the financial crisis more than terrorism. I have more of a day-to-day fear of people having tough times and resorting to robbery, homelessness or other crimes than I do of terrorism. When things were more stable, the lofty thoughts of what was going on in the rest of the world were much easier. Now I can't take my eyes off my bank account.

Gerry from Toronto writes:
One begets the other; it’s like a merry-go-round. The U.S. pays through the nose for oil imported from the Middle East, borrows money from China to pay for it and the profits from the oil and borrowing pay for terrorism.

Jaz from San Francisco writes:
Jack, It's all so interlinked that they are equal threats. Poverty and economic upheaval are a big part of what drives so many young men to turn to al Qaeda and their ilk. And our own woes could potentially render us unable to detect, prepare for, and fight the next major attack. President Obama is doing the right thing trying to deal with both these issues at the same time.

George from Dunedin, Florida writes:
That's a no-brainer, and the people that caused this problem are too. If we can't fix things financially, we won't be able to afford a war on terrorism. You see bin Laden accomplished what he set out to do, and that was to put a hurting on our financial system, and with the help of Bush, and all of the greedy crooks in the finance system, he has accomplished just that.

David from Natchez, Mississippi writes:
Isn't the global financial crisis terrorism? I am being attacked from all fronts. My job, my investments, my home, my taxes. Time for the Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts of the world to Rambo up and come to the rescue.

Filed under: US Economy
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Don (Ottawa)

    That's like saying, is it better to eaten by a cougar or an alligator. Either way we have a problem which will change life as we know it.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  2. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Our financial security is the bigger threat because unless we have eco;nomic security we cannot fight terrorism or anything else. All we have to do is look at the poor co;untries around the world. They are subject to terrorism a great deal more than the wealthy nations. We must be healthy enough to defend ourselves and we must leave a healthy economy to our grandchildren.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Pablo in Tejas

    please define terms with more specificity. Terrorism can be many different things; foreign or domestic, nuclear or non, & so forth. It can even be financial. Bin Laden was especially interested in the financial ruin of the West generally and the US in particular.
    Whoat you have posed here is a Hobson's Choice.
    Remember what the Mercury astronauts said, "No Bucks; No Buck Rogers!" We need a sound economic foundation in order to successfully pursue any policy and that includes fighting terrorism.

    Pablo in Arlington, Texas

    February 26, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago

    Totally. Keeping terrorists from infiltrating our borders with nefarious plans is way easier than stemming things like crime, riots, insurrection, and civil war, all of which are possible if this thing gets bad enough.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Jenna Wade

    Which is a bigger threat to America’s national security: the global financial crisis or terrorism?

    Hands down its the financial crisis that we are all facing.

    The have-not's could turn on the haves in a heart beat if desperate enough.

    Roseville CA

    February 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  6. JD in NH

    Remember what Osama bin Laden said about wanting to bankrupt the United States? Well . . . that's pretty much what has happened. We spent foolish amounts of money on a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and now we have limited funds to go after the real terrorists. Bin Laden must be sitting in a cave somewhere laughing.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    No doubt in my mind, Jack...the global financial crisis.

    Terrorism, while horrible and despicable because it targets innocent victims, rarely affects large numbers of people. Yes, 9/11 killed thousands, but in comparison to the billions of people affected by the global financial crisis, and the millions who may suffer painful death from starvation and disease resulting from it, the financial crisis is much more immediate and intimate to their circumstances.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Jim


    The global financial crisis apple might be bigger than the terrorism orange, but both are ugly, rotten fruit that need to be dealt with pronto.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Joe N Y..

    Terrorism for sure. It is a threat regardless of the economy. However the government is making it out to be so they can do all of this generational theivery. How does anyone trust these morons we have put in office, when you make a mistake you correct it, so 2010 we need to redo the Congress.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    Our financial security makes it possible for us to continue to pay the cost of our national security. If we fail financially, then our national security fails and we would have to depend on guns and guts of which this nation has much. Especially guts.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Katiec Pekin, IL

    What more could any terrorist group want than to see powerful
    nations in a financial crisis? You know, the hit em when they're
    down theory? If this is the case, we played right into their hands.

    February 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  12. Drajan Writing from Washington D.C.


    Both of those situations are equal in importance. You cant just prioritize on one major threat like the global financial crisis and hope that terrorism doesn't peak it's nasty head out. Both situations must be put on the highest pedestal of regard. Not only are the lives of americans at holding the balance but the lives of many throughout the world.

    Thanks Jack

    February 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  13. Mike Deist - Fort Walton Beach, FL

    WIthout a doubt, it is the global financial crisis. If the crisis is not under control in the not too distant future, it is likely that we will be involved in another World War.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  14. Joe in DE

    No doubt it is much bigger at this time.

    A key part of the economic problem is being ignored – that is FAIR TRADE. We have given away the store thru stupid trade Agreements. Bad enough to compete against slave or subsistence labor. Intolerable to accept products that don't meet US Health & safety standards. Also counterproductive to make no adjustment for countries with inadequate environmental controls – we need global cooperation on the environment and a trade adjustment is a poerful tool to accomplish it.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Sharon L Hill, Deltona, FL

    The global fiancial crisis. It makes us more vulnutable and less able to defend against attack. They go hand in hand.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Bill P Texas

    Wasn't 9/11 done to cause a financial crisis? I'd say a nation at a standstill, from the economy, is a greater threat to our security.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Jerry M

    The global financial crisis. I wonder what would happen to our ecomony if the government sent all tax payers millions of dollars instead of banks and corporate America. I believe it would cause an immediate upswing in the economy. They could even require that we pay tax on what we recieved, which would put money right back in the treasury.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Terry- Greensburg, IN

    Which is a bigger threat to America’s national security: the global financial crisis or terrorism?
    Depends on which ends up costing the most. The crisis will be over one day, if the terrorists have their way it might be over sooner.
    Another theory; If we hadn't done all this bailout[giveaway program] they wouldn't have anything to terrorize. We'd have really saved money. LOL

    February 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Robbie

    Financial terrorism is much greater than the Taliban. If we have no jobs then we as Americans will revert back to thugs ourselves. Our crime rate soars and the ones who were raised not to take up arms are living in fear.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Linda in Charleston, SC

    The financial crisis is terrorism at it's finest in my books.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  21. Ed Reed

    The financial crisis makes us more vunerable. Those who control our access to credit and energy hold more power over us than the terrorists.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    February 26, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  22. Gerry in Toronto

    One begets the other, it's like a merry go round. The US pay through the nose for oil imported from the middle east, borrow money from China to pay for it and the profits pay from the oil and borrowing pay for terrorism.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  23. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Money makes the world go around. The global financial crisis is the bigger threat without a doubt.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm |

    The Global financial crisis is worse, because if the world goes down it is going to be very bad. Our President is going in the right direction, and it would be good if only the American people will help and believe in him. It is our Country too, so we must help repair the mess, as he is asking. Don't be partisian.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  25. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    The financial crisis is a far greater threat to our country than the terrorists will ever be. You could issue some of the "good ol' boys" permits and they'll go out and find the terrorists just so they can have them stuffed and mounted above their fire places.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  26. Susan from Twn Falls Idaho

    Jack money talks everywhere. If we turn into a third world country the terrorists won’t look twice at us. They don’t want a pig in a poke with or without lipstick.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Bill Davis

    Yes the financial crisis is a bigger threat. People were baffled why President Obama placed a man with a background in economics in charge of the CIA (Leon Panetta). It made perfectly good sense to me. Still, most of the pundits decried his lack of military or law enforcement credentials. More damage has been done to our country with economic scams than by terrorists. It's interesting how we had warnings about both, but failed to act until it was too late.

    Bill D
    Champaign, IL

    February 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  28. Tom, Bradenton,FL

    This is a no brainer. If your finances are not in order you can't fight terrorism. Our banks, the car makers, the Republican Party and Insurance companies are the biggest national security threat. We should immediately withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and save a trillion dollars a year.

    February 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  29. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    The global financial meltdown is much worse. We could survive without war but we can't survive without money.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  30. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    The financial crisis is the bigger threat. If you will remeber, distorying the economy was Binladins plan all along. It`s no wonder we can`t find him, all he has to do now is hide and watch us distory ourselfs.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  31. C. Martin-Wood, Alabama

    The economic crisis IS a bigger threat than terrorism. It exposes our soft underbelly to the world and makes us seem weak. All terrorists have to do is sit back and wait for us to collapse completely, then come in and take what they like without much struggle. The economic situation is dire and demands IMMEDIATE solution.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  32. me46

    Terrorism has existed throughout history, but it is a changeling, a shapeshifter, which may morph as soon as you think you have cornered it. Sometimes it takes human form, but occasionally it will assume the guise of a natural disaster, a plague, a famine or even an cconomic collapse. It can even appear as a friend or an ally. It will always strike at the weakest and most vulnerable the hardest. Once in a while we might even find ourselves on the side of terrorism without even realizing it.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  33. Ismael Montoya

    well Jack, let's put it this way:

    If our country doesn't have money to make bombs, defend ouselves and fight back against terrorist then we will run out of ammo against them.
    so the gov't should start worrying how to make jobs and money instead of blowing it up.

    Fresno CA

    February 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  34. Kathy Lord

    Why aren't we concerned with our soldiers dying. I believe a life that is lost is much more important than our economy. We can help people through the economic crisis, but we cannot bring young soldiers back to life or relieve the grief that so many parents and families are feeling.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  35. David Gerstenfeld Las Vegas

    Isn't that a catch-22 ? Terrorism fighting countries need 100's of BILLION's of dollars. So, you tell me Jack, which came first "the chicken or the egg" ?

    February 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  36. Mark in OKC

    How can we worry about the banks and our homes along with our financial futures if terrorists have blown everything up with us in it? National Security trumps EVERYTHING else!

    February 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Jay Wardyn Ottawa, Il.

    The global financial crisis is by far the greater threat. We only need to look south of our border to see how quickly chaos can happen when hope is gone and the only promice for any personal power is to turn to running drugs, kidnappings and the influence of violence. No country is more heavily armed than the U.S. what if that type of dispair was brought to our shores.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  38. Joyce

    The global financial problems. If we do not come out of this recession, then there might not be a USA! We have let companies ship all of our good jobs over seas, let the banks do as they want and now we all suffering.


    February 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  39. Karen - Missouri

    The financial crisis. Terrorists love failing economies...that's how they operate.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  40. KarenB, centralFlorida

    It's all woven in together. Financial crises, terrorist threats – 911, the minute the planes hit the buildings, it not only sacrificed thousands of lives of our citizens, the already tipsy house of cards started to fall like dominoes – (domino effect) – credit/plastic/paper/big corporations-little companies/insurance/bankers everything was shaky to begin with, and the so-called terrorists(the people that hate us and want to see us busting rocks and eating dirt or dead)–doing their little "happy dance" more and more. anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  41. James in TN

    I'd say the global economic crisis, terrorist don't work the way we think they do. We're sitting here waiting on the to attack. Terrorist wait till you let your guard down to attack. Exactly how they pulled off 9/11, they waited till we let our guard down, these people are smarter than we think.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  42. Tom From Boston

    The global financial crisis – hands-down. If we don't fix this mess, we are going to be in deep yogurt and not only will we lose our leadership role in the world, our economic engine to create jobs and maintain a prosperous country that is a "beacon" in the world, and our ability to fund anti-terrorist activities, we will also end up fostering division, hatred and domestic terror right here in our own country. If that happens, don't worry about Osama Bin Laden. Worry about that unemployed, angry chemist down the block who decided to make his own dirty bomb and set it off in one of our cities – or maybe near the White House.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  43. matthew san berdo,ca

    I've been trying to say that for months

    February 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  44. Peggy-Lombard, Illinois

    Hasn't anyone ever considered that we have been experiencing Economic Terrorism?

    February 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  45. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    Just look at what happened to the Soviet Union! It fell apart due to a
    collapsing economy! Terrorists can cause great damage, as we saw on 9-11, but that brings the country together. Our entire future depends on our economy. With high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, depletion of our retirement accounts, millions with no health insurance, as well as an underfunded social security system,
    we are on the edge! Add to that, our dependence on foreign oil! Gas prices could rise dramatically, as we would be at the mercy of those who control them! That's why it is essential that we act immediately.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  46. Ann,Virginia

    Jack,they are interlinked.We need to proceed very carefully,as I'm sure President Obama will do.We all need to rally behind our President & that includes the Republicans,who will be ressponsible for our undoing if they don't stop acting like spoiled BRATS.They need to stop b--ing about every little thing,stop being so selfish & take responsibility for the disasterous Bush years.Republicans are not very popular right now & I hope are near their death as a party.Who needs them any how.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  47. Al, IA

    I think they've both been blown completely out of proportion to further the monied interests of the military-industrial-wall street complex. So far they're up at least several trillion bucks of our money and all we got was the microbrew six-pack a week tax break. Are we happy yet?

    February 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |

    Jack, that's easy. It's the financial crisis. When America has no more money (after we have entered into a nuclear conflict with Pakistan... what else will stop them) the terrorists can overrun our shores. Why? Because most of us will be living in cardboard boxes and eating weeds!

    GM will soon be gone, despite the government's best intentions. Chrysler will be gone. Ford can't pick up all of these workers. I've never seen anything else like this and I fear we are nowhere near the bottom. I keep telling my best buddy... watch your pennies and be ready!

    February 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  49. Jean from Connecticut

    Interesting question, Jack. I don't think this is a question of which is greater because I think the two are related. The more indebted we are to foreign countries, the more influence they have and the less power we have to execute on our agenda.... including terrorism and security. The President's proposed budget, if passed, will push us even further into debt with foreign nations. Such a tangled web he weaves!

    February 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  50. Patricia Roy

    I think it is interestiing that now the Republicans and the media are talking about the debt and the spending. Where were all of you the last eight years when Bush and the Republicans were borrowing and spending out of control? They added about 6 trillion to the debt. Why is it you weren't concerned then?

    February 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  51. Bert

    I believe the financial crisis is more important as this time.If all our troops were home to secure america it sure would make the public feel better.Plus all that money saved would be much better for the country.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  52. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, in 2001 we were told that terrorists were out to destroy America and that we needed to be good patriotic Americans to keep the country free. What we didn't know was that the real threat would come from our elected officials who were promising to keep us safe. So we haven't been "attacked" by terrorists since September 2001, but we have been under attack, and our financial crisis is proof of it.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  53. Mark Friedman, AZ

    The financial crisis, for sure. But not just to Americans, but to the government. If this situation continues to crash and burn, the government of good ol' USA might just have another revolution on their hands....

    February 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  54. Jerry from Monroe Co. WV

    Good question, Jack. The terrorists say we created the global financial crisis They are not wrong. We have now given them even more ammunition than the torture pictures from Abugrab. We have become our own worst enemy. Remember the good old days when we could offer foreign aid to countries and they would cooperate. Now we can't afford that and it probably wouldn't work anyway.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  55. Calvin Franklin Nc

    The financial crisis is most important, we've done the terrorism thing for 8 years. Twice during the last election Osma reared his ugly head twice. Bush won twice this way. But the whole time he didnt say anything. And only after Obama got in office then he speaks, humm....... what's wrong with this picture. Im so tired of hearing about Terrorism, when something happens in america its terrorism, well that has been happen to my people sence they took us from our home. Now that was terroism!!!! And its still goes on today so dont think this is a new thing. WE NEED JOBS!!!!!!!!! LIKE CALVIN THE ARTIST!!

    February 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  56. Lester from Huntsville, AL

    The housing foreclosure crisis is said to be the starting point of this downward economic spiral that we all find ourselves on so its only fitting that the crisis ends there. You've heard of food stamps...so what if we had mortgage stamps. This could only be spent on mortgages that are in foreclosure or in danger or going into immediate foreclosure and this would attack the core of the problem head on. The money would trickle "up" to the banks and thus help them without the risk of giving corporate ceo's the money and running the potential risk of fraud or mismanagement. This would end the fear of bail out money funding excessive golden parachutes and put the money directly where needed helping to keep families in their homes and protecting the property values of those in the communities that are not in foreclosure. I would put a 5 year cap on the program to make sure it doesn't become another everlasting government program. This program will only cost a fraction of what's been spent in the various bailouts and will attack the core issue. I would also mandate that banks that receive the government back "mortgage stamps" should get credit flowing again as this would quickly begin to erode their toxic assets in some risky investsment. Lets do this and help our President save the world.

    February 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  57. Mwita (Los Angeles, CA)

    The global fianancial crisis is a bigger threat. The number one cause of terrorism is poverty!

    February 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  58. EDinRI

    The economic financial crisis IS "Economic Terrorism". This world economy collapse has been orchestrated by the world banks and their elite clientel. The intention is, and has always been, a New World Order. The money is now moving from the middle class, up the rungs, to the power elite. This is by far the biggest threat to not only, us, but the entire industrialized world.
    Bush & Cheneys' War on Terror was just an excuse to continue the assault on the Constitution, and to keep "no-bid" defense contractors
    in the luxury profit mode.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  59. Steven

    I think one has led to the other.
    How 'bout this? We quit namby-pambying around, find the terrorists, shoot them all, and start strong-arming all these countries not in favor of US to think twice about trying to attack us.
    If Mr. O is serious about putting the American people back to work, why doesn't he bring ALL those jobs we sent overseas back to the US where they belong?
    NAFTA, CAFTA, and every other piece of garbage like it are what led us to where we are today


    February 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  60. Kumar, Plano, TX


    The reason we were a terrorist target was because of our financial success.

    I don't think there will be another terrorist threat until we become rich again.

    It is another story that the wall street guys engaged in financial terrorism. They pretty much wiped out many peoples savings and kicked their livelihood.

    Plano, TX

    February 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  61. Jake in Maine

    No doubt about it: an economy in Depression, wretched spending excess, and banks using taxpayer dollars on entertainment extravaganzas - these surely are our biggest threats. And we don't need thousands of troops to protect us. Home buyers simply need common sense. Stock buyers need to be a lot more demanding about risk disclosure and regulation. And Boards of Directors that permit the use of "bailout"money for fancy golf tournaments should be forced by shareholders AND taxpayers to resign.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  62. Jazherah MacMornna

    Jack, it's all so interlinked that they are equal threats. Poverty and economic upheaval is a big part of what drives so many young men to turn to Al Quaeda and their ilk. And our own woes could potentially render us unable to detect, prepare for, and fight the next major attack. President Obama is doing the right thing trying to deal with both these issues at the same time. He can't afford to put one on the back burner while dealing with the other.


    San Francisco, Ca.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  63. stephen blesofsky

    It's NOT even close! The economic crisis IS bigger that the threat of terrorism: world economic crisis feeds terrorism and without a strong economy we lack the resources to fight terrorism,

    February 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  64. Julie

    They are equally important.

    Austin, TX

    February 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  65. Ed In Iowa

    Well... If we can't AFFORD to fight the terrorists...

    February 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  66. David from Natchez, MS

    Isn't the global finance financial crisis terrorism? I am being attacked from all fronts. My job, my investments, my home, my taxes. Time for the Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts of the world to Rambo up and come to the rescue. Exxon/Mobile, come on you billionaries show us your American side, if you have one.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  67. Kirk C

    Asking the question in this manner ["which is more important, financial crisis or terrorism?] completely misses the point that the two are interrelated.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  68. pat in michigan

    terrorism isn't a problem if you dont let them in the country
    we can get by with the basics for a long time the rest is fluff

    February 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  69. Ethan at Stetson U

    The financial crisis is far more threatening to national security, as unstable nations begin to collapse they become harbors for terrorism. Plus, how do you fight a war with no money?

    February 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  70. Beth

    Both are a great threat and they are linked.

    Poverty fuels terrorism. Families of suicide bombers often receive money after the suicide. More poverty means more young men and women are desperate to get money for their families. You don't see "safe havens" for terrorists in countries with strong economies. Poor countries don't have the money to fight terrorism activities in their countries. It is parents who cannot afford to send their kids to school that send their kids to the madrassas that teach that the West is immoral. And finally without money we won't have the resources to fight terrorists or to beef up. our homeland security.

    Didn't bin Laden says his goal was to bankrupt us?

    Both are a threat.

    Dunwoody GA

    February 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  71. Sarah,Richmond,VA


    This is why I said the financial wizards have done more damage to our country than Al Qaeda ever did. They are econterrorists and should be treated as such. This financial calamity is exactly what Bin Laden was trying to accomplish on 9/11. Little did we know we had more dangerous thugs here in our homeland.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Beth from Boothbay, Maine

    How should I know? I am not an economist nor a diplomat! YOU tell me that the CIA says that the economic situation has now trumped terrorism, so what SHOULD I believe? YOU? Sure! After all, you're a commentator on CNN. Surely YOU know what you are talking about!??

    Isn't that what you want us to believe?

    Beth in Maine

    February 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Griff...... The Truth

    Defence! Must come first. Whatever the cost. You need the best equipment: to deal with the Worst.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Marietta

    Jack you asked the bigger threat to National security, the global financial crises or terrorism-I say both ....but what is worst then the financial crisis and terrorism- The Bigger threat is the-Republican party and the other dems who are not working with our Pres. Obama will be the true cause of our down fall-for it will surely come and republcians will be still more worried about the next election-HOW SAD!

    February 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  75. Bruce Marshall

    Right now it is terrorism but in time to come I think it will be global financial crisis and in time the FBI will be giving a breif to Obama on the up turn on crime in the USA do to the financial crisis in this country. Crime is already going up, like the number of Banks being robed and home break in's.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  76. Karen, LO

    Let me see, with no money, we can't build our Military and they are already pretty thin. No money is no military, no new defense weapons, no protective equipment for our troops, so, I'd say the financial crisis is the larger of the two threats.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  77. Zack

    Jack, how quickly we forget. I seem to recall Osama B. post 9-11 stating that the NEXT attack on America would be on our financial system. Pulling us into an untenable war, our will wearing thin, etc... So, to answer your question, both.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  78. Bridget

    Terrorism, a financial crisis can be devastating as we've witnessed the last two years but we are still here with hope for a better future. Terrorism can and does take lives that we can never get back. Fear for your life beats fear of your financial situation changing.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  79. Lisa- Florida

    Do you really need to ask? Bin Laden didn't need to bring us down- our banks did it for him. We are being terrorized by a bunch of elitist CEOs, brokers, traders, bankers ect. Many, many more Americans are personally suffering now than after 9/11. Get ready for the backlash- you should never bite the hand that feeds you. We are on to them now, hopefully it's not too late.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  80. Tony in Michigan

    Well, if we can't afford the very best national defense that leaves plenty of room for terrorists to work. National defense costs money, nothing new there, so that makes financial crisis a little more important right now.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  81. Renee Nashville, TN

    They are one in the same. It's like going to a scary movie. Why pay someone to scare you? We are funding this economic terrorism. The banks have enough money! Now it's my turn!!!

    February 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Justin

    I think the economic meltdown is the result of financial terrorism. Tell a person you're going to shoot him tomorrow and see what he does. Tell the same person you're going to take away all his money and I'll bet he acts in a similar fashion.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  83. Nick

    While the global financial crisis IS more serious than terrorism, BOTH platforms have gone really bad as a result of greed from corporations, government contractors, and the Carlyle Group making unlimited amounts of money on the war on terror. Where's the accountability, even after Bush left office?

    February 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Troy in camden, nj

    The global financial crisis will bread MORE terrorism. The United States will be blamed for ANY nation that stumbles with its finances and has radical elements of religion who already Hate the US.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  85. Chuck Gramberg

    The financial crisis. It would be difficult to defend against terrorrism whithout money.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  86. Dakota Don from Akra

    The global financial crises, but that is merely an offshoot of declining oil supplies. Remember $140 bbl oil? The growing shortage that triggered the meltdown put paid to the MUST GROW FOREVER financial model. Coming out the other side of the petroleum demand destruction from the economic implosion awaits that same cement wall of diminishing oil supplies. It's about to get REALLY ugly out there. The threat from terrorism was never strategic and so never consequential. It was just used by Bush and the boys to commit rapine and pillage on this country and it's constitution.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  87. Glen of Hardes

    The economic meltdown will have much more effect world-wide, than the so called war on terrorism. As we have already seen governments fail, people in the third world are most at risk of being "Terrorized" by the economic situation, which may very well lead to armed chaos on a grand scale.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  88. Jim Blevins

    Terrorism is , by intent, spectacular. It represents a relatively small loss. Far, far more people die of flu than terrorism. Economics is one of the root causes of nearly all catastrophes. With a billion hungry people in the world, and the economy getting worse, the economy is an extreme danger.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  89. Quanzale McMath

    I think they're both important issues but, if one needs emergency attention as our economy then, we need to fix that problem first. Because, if we’re not financially strong, we can't address our National Security issues with better ideals from a developmental aspect.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  90. A.B.

    Both are large threats towards our national securty, but terrorists are a much larger threat. Personally i'd rather have our country at a stand still then having millions of peaple die due to terrorist attacks on our country. Besides if more attacks like 9/11 happen won't it just put us in even more debt.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  91. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Forget about the ‘financial pickle’ we’re in.

    The Bush Administration made its ‘war on terror’ very low-key by not forcing us to pay for it with tax dollars.

    Recipe: deficit sandwich

    Combine all our ‘l-egg-acy costs’ (the ‘eggs-act’ amount we’ll never know) with the enormous ’salad’ oil we buy from abroad,
    add all the ‘lettuce’ we expend by huge foreign trade deficits,
    top it with all our legislative ‘pork’
    and put it all in the huge ‘bun-dle’ we just gave the banks and we’ve got the recipe for a giant ‘deficit sandwich’

    You can add the pickle and a 'supply-side' of tax cuts to make the meal complete.

    ‘Chef’ Bernie
    Lowell, MA

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  92. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    The economy is the biggest threat - and not just for this country, Jack.

    Poverty and lack of education are illnesses that CREATE terrorism – that's why we should fight the actual condition, not just bomb the heck out of the symptoms.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  93. Frederick Miles

    No question in my mind, global financial crisis is then greater threat.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  94. Jimmy, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl

    Gee you also forgot Global Warming. My plate is full. And I just got laidoff. Where do I get off, please

    JD in NH you took the words right of my keyboard.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  95. Mary - Santee CA

    Both are equally important. Those terrorist will use the dwindling resources, etc. to inflame those who blame the U.S. for all their ills. Unless we conserve and improve our ability to provide food, water, medicine, etc. to all countries that are facing these crisis, there certainly will be uprisings and perhaps even here in the U.S.

    Santee CA

    February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  96. Don Smith Ukiah CA

    Money is the water that lifts boats out of barbarity and into civility. Terror is a police matter, and police are on the side of civil law if the civil authorities have money to meet payroll. Otherwise cops are thugs who work for the gangsters who pay the most. So, yeah, we need order in the lifeblood of commerce and trade more than we need to worry about terrorists. Economic stability will curtail terrorism.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  97. Gloria

    Oh you mean the terrorism scare that the previous administration fabricated . . . or the financial crisis that they manufactured? Well, both, but Global Warming will trump all if we don't put it front and center. Thank God for an administration that believes in science and is at least willing to take this on.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  98. Joseph Scordamaglia

    The country has been running on a fake economy for years based on money we did not have. The country still has more to suffer. The financial crisis is doing more damage then the terrorist could ever do. There is nothing for the terrorist to do for we are destroying ourselves they need do nothing. Sad comment on America.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  99. Purnell Kankakee lL.


    Because some of our people keep listening to the greedy that tells them that we do not need to change, and look toward the future, we have put off the changes for over fifty years now and we are finally seeing the effects of our inaction, and lack of vision! Our borders are not guarded at all and we have nearly 20 million people here that we do not know who they are or where they are, and what they are ding here. We have completely lost control of our own country; we are starting to look like a third world country.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  100. Susan Haught

    Financial . I feel the the whole thing about terrorism was over blown. It was a scare tactics by the GOP. To keep Americans afraid. We just aren't be told we can see in our everyday life where the economy is. We need to something now to help the average American no matter what cost. If we have money to rebuild Iraq then we have money to bail out America.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  101. Rick from Ct

    Hi Jack

    I'm more worried about the Banks and their greed than anything else
    we need a war on them, they charge us for everything from overdraft fees
    to fees for taking your own money out, nobody is saying anything about that, on top of that we have to bail them out. You can say what you want and this is the best place in the world, but it sure aint free.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  102. Laurie Carragher, Rolling Prairie, Indiana

    I think the global financial crisis IS terrorism in its most effective form. Nothing can destroy nations better than the economic destruction we are going through right now. You can almost hear the real terrorists laughing from their caves.
    Laurie from Rolling Prairie, Indiana

    February 26, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  103. tuff time

    Terrorism is I believe also huge element of this financial crisis. US is spending way too much on this war on terror. The question is; after spending so much money on this war, has the threat from the terrorists have increased, decreased or its the same?

    February 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  104. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Neither Jack. By far the biggest long term threat is the deficit we are creating to try to fix the economy. Left alone, the economy will recover eventually. Our efforts to 'help' it will add trillions in debt. The long term harm to us will be much worse.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm |

    holy catfish jack, to me both are an immense priority..
    with this global trainwreck,or those " so called terrorist's" who should be in every " legal" gunowner ( heck,let's let the criminal's have
    a shot at them),should have any terrorist in the gun's sight's...

    February 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  106. Purnell Kankakee lL.

    The financial is the bigger threat because we can not do anything without money, none of our soldiers will fight if the money runs out, and their families are barley making it right now. For years we have had many of our soldiers suffering because they are now of food stamp programs across the country, they do not get paid enough nor is there enough housing for them on the bases, so they are forced to live off post on their limited pay.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  107. J.C.

    I agree. I'm more scared of the financial crisis because i know that if things continue on like this, then America as we know it will become a warzone. I certainly believe our own government is the reason we are in this crisis by lies and just unecessary spending. I truly hope that the American people wake up and realize that this country is heading for socialism. I voted for barack obama but i was a bit hesitate to vote for him because I still felt he would preach good things and deliver none of them. I don't expect him to fix it right away but i think he is a socialist. Honestly speaking now would be a great time to deliver socialism in this country because the american people are very vulnerable right now. I believe that Famines, Energy crisis, Bank Failure, and much more is about to happen, and when it does it's a perfect time to deploy military enforcement in america. Most politicians are corrupt and this may be the cost we americans pay for not educating ourselves on the history of this country. The Financial Crisis is terrorism.....

    February 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  108. Daniel

    Terrorism has never been the problem that it has been portray as. It's merely shocking.

    A bad economy is a far greater threat the stability and safety of the US. The Congress passed a law to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act in 2006 at Pres. Bush's urging. This would allow for US troops to be deployed during a natural emergency or some type of insurrection. Since all war and therefore insurrection are based on economics, I personally have to wonder why there was such a striking plan to deal with the American people if the economy wasn't always a larger threat.

    Luckily, this heinous law was repealed in 2008.

    I find it most disturbing that while open markets are critical to the basic function of the US and other free nations, it's the Republicans who have made those markets both inaccessible and opaque to the vast majority of the American people. They have done this be having policies to depress wages and decrease job stability. Historically, they also promote war and political strife.

    It makes me wonder who the real terrorists are. Accordingly, I find it unsettling that the economic status of millions of Americans are the cannon fodder in this criminal attack on our nation.

    Onalaska, WI

    February 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  109. LaVerne

    short and sweet. the financial crisis is worst . it is a terrorist attack,. it terroizes everyone.. everyone is or will be affected.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  110. Jay

    This is a fine idea. The CIA World Factbook has included economic data on countries for years. Economoic data is especially important now since stomach issues lead to instability.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  111. james sloan

    Dear Jack, the economy of course. The terrorists cannot defeat us but we can implode. Of course the terrorists will take credit for it if that happens. Jim Sloan Bangkok

    February 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  112. Oregon Wally Las Vegas Nevada

    well, starve us out, or bomb us out, the results remain the same, one is just faster then the other.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  113. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    Jack I look at it this way if Citi-Group, Wells Fargo and Bank of America were to go under our financial stabilitity would be in the toilet and that would allow a world wide global economic crisis to truely run rambid.

    We should have never allowed these institutions to get so large that they do in fact control such a large piece of the pie, requiring government intervention.

    What is need is this each institution that we are lending to should be held resposible just as you and I are for a loan, it should be paid back in installments (with interest) and if not the company should be sold.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  114. Roger Boyer


    Protecting American Citizens should always be the No#1 Priority of the Government, at all levels.

    And preventing Terroist attacks against American's and American property has a direct link to the Economy. Look how the Terriost attacks of 2001 affected our Economy. It cost Billons of dollars to rebuild and replace what was lost. And Billions for the disruption of our financial and other systems..

    Roger Boyer (Arkansas)

    February 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  115. Paul, Charles Town, WV

    An argument can be made that terrorism is fueling our economic woes. Since 9/11, the U.S. government has ran up huge deficits, let the markets run amok, and spent huge amounts of money on two wars with mixed results. Terrorists hit us right where it hurts. Our pocket books. And since then, we have seen many American corporate bigwigs use shady dealings to make profits and defraud the American people. If you ask me, that also qualifies as terrorism – domestic economic terrorism – and I submit it should be classified in our law books as treason. Just look at the fallout.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  116. tomc

    It's a matter of degree and severity. Actual terrorism incidents causing loss of life or property loss would tend to be a most critical matter to address. An unending "war on terror" beyond the national boarders becomes a problematic question of public / national moral values and perceived benefit. One begins to wonder if the WOT is a political article of faith held by those who have no imagination or ability to craft principled solutions.
    In the absence of imminent terrorism incidents, sustainable economics, standard of living, and opportunity issues are more important than about anything.
    In fact, the economy if crippled and abused over a long term outweighs all problems including wars or terrorism. A failed economy generally implies a failed society and government. The breaching of the city / national walls and sacking by barbarians will not be far off.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  117. Adam

    That's like asking, "Which is more lemony? A lemon or lemonade?" The two are fundamentally linked: Terrorists prey on the desperate and disenfranchized, looking for someone to blame, to fill their ranks. The increasing poverty in already poor countries will provide ample recruiting fodder for terrorist organizations.

    Adam W.
    Philadelphia, PA

    February 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  118. Delia

    It's too bad we didn't realize earlier that the biggest threat to the US was the Bush administration! I wonder if Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney feel any remorse for leaving us with these awful situations.

    Katy, TX

    February 26, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  119. Marie Shum oceanside ca

    hold the presses Jack we are being bombbarded every day with something new and its getting out of hand. I am starting to believe that we are our own worst enemy. the judgements of what is going on are the size of Rome falling. I am calling on all my fellow citizens to reach deep into their pockets their hearts and remember we are a nation of sucess after sucess but some of those sucess we have outsourced and left our own people out in the cold because of it. remember all the things we made in the 40's 50's 60's 70's started to rapidly disappear in the 80's and 90's and still our own businesses ship jobs overseas. stop It's a wonderful life here in our country. think of our country as George Bailey standing on a bridge wondering what his life has meant. we are a wonderful people we need to remember all the things that would have never happened if we hadn't been there we need to come to the rescue of our own country we need to stand up and chip in and give up things which can make our country go back.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  120. Karl from SF, CA

    When a nation’s financial system collapses, the collapse of its government isn't far behind. Terrorist move in fast at that point to create as unstable of an environment as they can to cause upheaval and unrest. Bin Laden in a Pakistani cave is far less dangerous than a collapsed economy and government in any country.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  121. Ralph Spyer

    The C.I.A. has used terrorism to help America big business in south America and our oil industry in the middle east . Now that we are short of cash in this financial crisis this country should make sure the native don't get restless

    February 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  122. Mike, Dallas

    Well, it the financial crisis of course. It's not the boogie-man we've all be preached about the last eight years.

    February 26, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  123. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Love the same music Jack!

    February 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm |