Tuesday :: Aug 3, 2004

More On The Phony Terror Alert

by Steve

You can take it or leave it, but Capitol Hill Blue has some additional information on the terror alert that wasn't, and the political motivations behind it.

The alerts, planned weeks ago, came right after the Democratic National Convention in Boston as a carefully-orchestrated attempt to play on Bush's strengths in the war against terrorism and blunt any momentum challenger John F. Kerry might have coming out of the convention.

Much of the "new" information cited as reasons for raising the alert dates back to 2001.

"The only real 'increased chatter' we're seeing lately is between the White House and the Bush campaign headquarters in Arlington," mutters one Homeland Security operative who spoke to Capitol Hill Blue only on condition of anonymity. "There's no greater threat today than there was six months ago."

DHS and the Department of Justice began talking up an increased terrorist threat during the Democratic Convention last week and scheduled release of the increased threat level over the weekend as both Bush and Kerry campaigned in the midwest.

Yet those who have seen the raw intel reports circulating between the various intelligence agencies say little information in them supports the claims of an increased threat of attack in the United States.

While Washington police Chief Charles Ramsey publicly endorses the terror alerts, he complains bitterly to his staff that he and other police agencies have become "taxpayer-supported campaign workers for the Bush re-election campaign."

Sources within the Department of Homeland Security say DHS Secretary Tom Ridge argued against raising the terror alert and going public with a list of specific buildings but Attorney General John Ashcroft overruled him.

"This whole alert game is a cosmetic saber-rattle, a show of force to try and convince the American public that we're on top of things," says one FBI agent. "Sadly, we're not. When the next attack comes, it will be when we least expect it and when we don't have an increased alert."

Allow me, once I get past my indignation at this pathetic misuse of our national intelligence and homeland security apparatus for political purposes, to put forward the notion that contrary to the spin from the White House, we may not have another domestic terrorist attack this year before the election, and that Al Qaeda is not yet prepared to hit us again here at home.

It is also high time for the Kerry camp to raise this issue of Alert Misuse in the media. Over the weekend, it came out that while Howard Dean came out and said that he questioned the timing of the alert and the motives behind it, Kerry swatted that down and said he had no such concerns. Perhaps he should allow his surrogates to begin talking this up to get the media to put a contrarian meme into circulation. It is all well and good to be willing to debate national security and terrorism mano-a-mano with Bush, as Kerry is doing, but that doesn't mean you have to do it on his terms. There should be a coordinated effort to remind columnists that what they see is not necessarily what the truth is.

Update: And if you want any more confirmation that what we are being subjected to is nothing more than one more White House spin job, take a look at the piece by Bush-friendly Lis Bumiller of the NYT this morning on the White House posturing about the 9/11 Commission findings. To her credit, Bumiller manages to sneak into her story what the true battle plan is surrounding the commission's recommendations and Bush's actions:

Mr. Bush gave no specific timetable for when he might name someone to the position, and the White House did not answer questions on whether the legislation creating the job could be completed before November. But White House and Bush campaign officials have long said that the details matter far less than the pictures and sounds of Mr. Bush talking in any way about his campaign against terrorism, which polls show is still his strongest card against Mr. Kerry.

Do you need any more than that to mount a counteroffensive against the White House's true motives in both these terror alerts and how they are "responding" to the 9/11 Commission's findings and recommendations?

Steve :: 6:59 AM :: Comments (30) :: Digg It!