With the nomination of the “anointed” one, it was clear to Democrats that the economy would be a better center piece for the upcoming campaign than Iraq. Their candidate had no real national security qualifications and the surge was working.

Enter Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Always, a hound for publicity, Sen. Schumer made public a letter he wrote to the Office of Thrift Supervision in June questioning the solvency of the California based IndyMac Bank. In his missive, Schumer asserted that the deterioration of IndyMac’s financial position posed a risk to its investors and customer base.

Publicity about the exchange resulted in an eleven-day run on the bank during which time $1.3 billion were withdrawn. IndyMac’s failure along with Schumer’s actions undoubtedly contributed to the $16 billion run on Washington Mutual in early September. In turn, WaMu’s catastrophic failure contributed to the quick demise of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

Merrill Lynch’s demise was helped along by the threat of a lawsuit from Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. Merrill’s executives were surprised by Cuomo’s bluster since they already agreed to repurchase over $12 billion in debt. The damage done, the Bank of America took over the threatened brokerage house.

Without question, the banks and investment houses referenced above were weakened substantially by their participation in the sub-prime mortgage market. However, it appears that their immediate failures weren’t attributable to those losses alone. In fact, diminished consumer confidence set in motion by Schumer, Cuomo and other operatives played a far more significant role.

Did they intend to set into motion a series of events that would culminate in a “perfect storm” of diversion? It is impossible to know. This we do know. Their actions no doubt laid ruin to a number of financial institutions and impacted the retirement plans of millions of hard-working Americans, especially those near retirement age.

More importantly, however, their actions made it possible for Obama to avoid answering questions on his ability to protect America from the gathering storm of Islamic terrorism. The latter is clearly the most pressing threat to the security of this country. The president’s first duty is to protect the homeland from those that would do us harm. Obama or his handlers haven’t discussed in any great detail his plans for homeland security.

Cuomo’s actions come as no surprise. He is the consummate politician and opportunist. His surprise dropout from New York’s gubernatorial race in 2002 demonstrated his loyalty to himself rather than to his supporters.

Schumer is another story. The so-called hawk on national security, with his penchant for publicity, set into motion a chain of events that would place the discussion of national security on the back burner.

Misters Cuomo and Schumer, you and others have helped Mr. Obama skirt the issue of national security by giving Americans palpitations when reading their third-quarter 401K statements. The latter might prove inconsequential the moment Islamic terrorists decide to strike.

Jeffrey M. Epstein serves as president and founder of America’s Truth Forum. He accumulated over 35 years experience in mortgage banking, marketing and business management. Epstein was promoted to senior vice president of the nation’s largest portfolio-lending institution following his initiation of an FBI/OTS fraud investigation that led to the conviction and incarceration of several real estate professionals for their roles in committing mortgage fraud. His nonprofit organization took the lead in producing three critically acclaimed symposiums on the threat of Islamic terrorism in Washington, Las Vegas and Dallas. Epstein has been featured on “Fox & Friends,” CBN and Fox News.

Harvey Kushner, PhD, is a conservative commentator and authority on terrorism. His latest books are “The Encyclopedia of Terrorism” and “Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terrorist Network in the United States.” His views can be read by visiting www.harveykushner.com.

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