bush banks on our insecurity

homeland security.gif
Via the inimitable Patriot Boy

Now we all know: those terror warnings, so dire that press conferences were called and the terror level raised to “orange” in NYC and DC, were based on evidence that was years old.

More than half a dozen government officials interviewed yesterday, who declined to be identified because classified information is involved, said that most, if not all, of the information about the buildings seized by authorities in a raid in Pakistan last week was about three years old, and possibly older.

“There is nothing right now that we’re hearing that is new,” said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. “Why did we go to this level? . . . I still don’t know that.”

Looking at that article, Billmon opines in an absolutely magnificent post:

Ordinarily, that kind of talk would make me wonder whether the Bush administration isn’t shamelessly manipulating dubious intelligence data in order to score a few political points and stampede the voters into supporting the GOP agenda.

But of course, we know this administration never does things like that.

I’m sure the threats were real, that the data wasn’t manufactured. But considering they were from years ago, they were not so urgent that Re-election Security Minister Tom Ridge had to hold a press conference saying the new threats were uncovered as a result of bush’s war on terror. Nor did they merit Andy Card holding another press confrence at which he constantly referred to bush’s “bold leadership.”

It’s all part of Karl Rove’s winning formula for bush: keep the war on terror top of people’s mind, especially when it appears Kerry is making headway in the race. We’ll be hearing more and more about threats like this in the weeks ahead, and also about more captures of “high-ranking Al Qaida operatives.” It’s bush’s only hope; if he can’t perpetuate the myth that he’s winning his war on terror, there’s nothing else to point to.

God forbid there’s ever a real threat they need to warn us about. By using national security for political advantage, bush has forced us to view the warnings with extreme cynicism, if we even notice them at all.

UPDATE: This is precious. Tom Ridge, then and now:


“We don’t do politics in the Department of Homeland Security,” he told reporters. “This is not about politics.


Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration’s efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.”

Via Pandagon.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

I think those Ridge quotes were also in a NYTimes story that suggested there was other information that the public was not made privvy to, and that he was responding to allegations that they were using old evidence when indeed, so it seems, that old evidence was context.

Ah, context. Right. A Literary homeland Security Advisory.

August 4, 2004 @ 5:35 am | Comment

Oops. Backtracking and ass-covering will be done.

new intelligence pointing to a current threat of a terrorist attack on financial targets in New York and possibly in Washington – not just information about surveillance on specific buildings over the years – was a major factor in the decision over the weekend to raise the terrorism alert level.

The officials said the separate stream of intelligence, which they had not previously disclosed, reached the White House only late last week and was part of a flow that the officials said had prompted them to act urgently in the last few days.

From the New York Times.

August 4, 2004 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Nah — too late. After this (and many other examples), I don’t believe anything they say.

August 4, 2004 @ 10:57 am | Comment

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