November 15, 2002

When An Attack Becomes "Spectacular"

When An Attack Becomes "Spectacular"

I don't mean to pick on the FBI's choice of words, but warning that al Queda is likely to pull of a "spectacular" attack just seems, I don't know, almost fun. The word "spectacular" is usually reserved for Fourth of July fireworks displays or pictures of Britney Spears naked.

Lousy wording aside, it appears that we, the American public, are being warned yet again that al Queda is up to something. To borrow heavily from Ned Flanders, let me just say, "Well, no diddily ding dong shit."

But White House officials said the warning was based on a summary of intelligence, not new information, and that an attack was not imminent. In addition, the government did not increase its terror alert status, used to notify the public of potential attacks.

Keep in mind, this was the top story on In other words, they dedicated #1 billing to a story that tells us that pretty much nothing has changed. Wow, we're being targeted by terrorists? Who knew? I'll let you in on a little secret. I honestly think White House journalists are really, really lazy. I think they just kind of hover around a doughnut platter toward the back of the press briefing room and simply transcribe whatever ends up on their tape recorders later on. This isn't news, this is regurgitation.

IN A BULLETIN circulated to law enforcement officials nationwide, the FBI says, "Sources suggest al-Qaida may favor spectacular attacks that meet several criteria: High symbolic value, mass casualties, severe damage to the U.S. economy and maximum psychological trauma." The FBI posted the alert on its Web site early Friday, after The Associated Press and The New York Times reported its existence.

Wow, way to go AP and New York Times. How long did it take you to copy and paste this tidbit of information? If Nixon were alive today, he'd be asking where these journalists were when he was president. He could have avoided the whole Watergate thing because Woodward and Bernstein would have been surfing the Internet for porn.

NBC's Pete Williams reported that U.S. officials said the warning follows a series of events β€” topped by the recent release of an audiotaped message believed to be from bin Laden that could contain a message to al-Qaida members β€” rather than any new intelligence. "It's a building of concern," one official said on condition on anonymity.

Why in the hell would you want to maintain anonymity for an innocuous quote like that? That's like me saying, "Well, I guess I feel fine today, but don't tell anyone I said that."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan cited the lack of any intelligence about specific time, date, location or method of possible attack as the reason for keeping the nation's official terrorist threat level at code yellow, the middle of a five-level scale of risk developed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

So, in other words, we don't know when, where, how, or generally anything at all when it comes to this all-but-certain attack. It's nice to know the expensive eyes and ears of America's intelligence community are able to stay so well informed.

FBI AGENT: Watch out! There's an attack coming your way!


FBI AGENT: I have absolutely no idea! But stay sharp, because one is coming. . . sometime!

The recent nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia, the assault on Marines in Kuwait and the attack on a French oil tanker near Yemen β€” as well as the U.S. strike on a car carrying suspected terrorists, also in Yemen β€” are described by several law enforcement officials as actions that point to an increased threat.

Let me get this straight: recent attacks point to an increased threat? Hmmmmm. I guess that seems plausible. It's a good thing the folks in the established media are there to point stuff like that out, or I'd be in a world of hurt. That aroma you just whiffed was the smell of insane levels of sarcasm emanating off the preceding sentences.

"If there was any doubt in anybody's mind that al-Qaida remains a dangerous threat to America or the world, I suspect it was dispelled with the string of attacks," Tom Ridge, director of the White House homeland security office, said Thursday.

That's a pretty profound statement there, Ridge. You sure you don't want to maintain anonymity when spewing forth groundbreaking opinions like that?

"I think that as we ratchet up toward Iraq, we have to believe that there will be attempts in this country anywhere, perhaps everywhere, to do us harm," Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN.

I remember, when I was little, my older brother would tell me that the bogeyman was watching me and he could see me everywhere. It's nice to know the concept still applies today. Does it just seem that people in Washington are determined to keep everyone as terrified as they possibly can? Can't they just knock it off long enough for me to enjoy an ice cold beer? Yes, I get it, we're in danger. Now shut up! I'm trying to score with this hot chick over here.

"We can't find bin Laden, we haven't made real progress" in finding key elements of al-Qaida, said Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "They continue to be as great a threat today as they were one and a half years ago. So by what measure can we claim to be successful so far?"

Daschle likened bin Laden to the Washington-area sniper, who unleashed a wave of terror around the nation's capital. "Osama Bin Laden is the sniper," he said. "He is terrorizing this country as the sniper terrorized Washington."

It's crap like that that makes me understand why the Democrats lost so horribly during the recent election. If all you can do is come up with lousy analogies, and point figners, without offering up ideas and solutions of your own, yes, you're going to fail miserably come election time. The Bush administration may be pushing forth unpopular legislation and foreign policy, but at least they're doing something. Daschle's a legislator. Perhaps he could try his hand at a little legislation and a little less oration. Hey, that sounded a little like that recent Elvis re-release. "A little less oration, a little more legislation."

Whatever. I'm tired.

Posted by Ryan at November 15, 2002 02:03 PM
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