Saturday :: Oct 23, 2004

No Evidence Found Of Election-Related Terrorist Attack


by Steve

Then:

As the election draws nearer, U.S. officials are increasingly concerned al-Qaida terrorists will attempt to mount a devastating attack to disrupt the political process.

In an unusual move, Attorney General John Ashcroft recently held a conference call with all 93 U.S. attorneys to spread the word that prosecutors and law enforcement officers should take every conceivable step to counter the threat, said two senior law enforcement officials briefed on the call.

Ashcroft's Sept. 13 call to prosecutors was prompted not by new intelligence but rather was intended to remind law enforcement officials about a steady stream of information pointing to an election-year attack, one official said.

--Associated Press, September 24

Now:

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials say they have found no direct evidence of an election-related terrorist plot. Authorities also say that a key CIA source who had claimed knowledge of such plans has been discredited, casting doubt on one of the earliest pieces of evidence pointing to a possible attack.

Intelligence officials stress that they continue to receive reports indicating that al Qaeda and its allies would like to mount attacks in the United States close to the Nov. 2 elections, and that such reports have been streaming in since terrorists blew up commuter trains in Madrid days before Spanish elections in March. Yet after hundreds of interviews, scores of immigration arrests and other preventive measures, law enforcement officials say they have been unable to detect signs of an ongoing plot in the United States, nor have they identified specific targets, dates or methods that might be used in one.

"We've not unearthed anything that would add any credence to talk of an election-related attack," said one senior FBI counterterrorism official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because authorities have been instructed not to talk publicly about the issue before the elections. "You can never say there is not a threat, but we have not found specific evidence of one."

--Washington Post, today

What's this "authorities have been instructed not to talk publicly about the issue before the elections" business? If you ever wanted proof that the Bush Administration wants to maintain a climate of fear up to the election to help its election prospects while preventing any development or news that would reduce such fear, now you have it.

Steve :: 1:41 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!