May 23, 2004

Continuing our paranoid rambles.

The other day, we pointed to an item in US News about the possibility of terror attacks in the US between now and the fall presidential election. At the time, we had this comment:

Sounds an awful lot like a trial balloon to us that Washington's starting to get the country used to the idea that there will be an attack during the run-up to the November election.

Prowling the web today, we find that another trial balloon appears to have gone up, again via US News:

The chatter was persistent--and alarming. In the weeks after the deadly March bombings of four commuter trains in Madrid by al Qaeda operatives, the supersecret U.S. surveillance network, Echelon, intercepted a number of messages from suspected terrorists suggesting planning for a massive, multipronged assault on the United States. When? Between this summer's political conventions and October, one month before the presidential election. The intelligence appeared to confirm information obtained from some seized al Qaeda computers and from several human sources, government officials say. Officials at the CIA and the National Security Agency, which runs the Echelon program, believe the information is credible but worry that the human sources were on the periphery of the now widely dispersed al Qaeda network. Nevertheless, the information pointed to two, perhaps three, targets, the sources say: New York, Washington, and Las Vegas. The objective of the suspected attack, the officials continued, would be not only to cause mass casualties and devastation of U.S. infrastructure but to roil the presidential race. The Madrid bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded 1,800, also toppled the Spanish government and triggered the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. "Since Spain," says a Bush administration official, "al Qaeda has had the feeling of 'We can do this. We can affect an election.' "

We have definitely dusted off our tinfoil hat. It looks like it's going to get a lot of use between now and November 2.

Posted by Magpie at May 23, 2004 09:18 PM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |

Yes, they need a new infusion of Patriotism.

Posted by: degustibus at May 23, 2004 09:29 PM

Both 5/20 and 5/22 I took out my tinfoil hat for a discussion of this topic. I find the administration quotes quite ominous.


Posted by: Scorpio at May 24, 2004 02:19 AM

...gosh, if such a thing happens than self-evidently the current administration's attempt to keep us safe failed... the description of Iraq as "the central front" will have been mistaken...

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at May 24, 2004 03:26 AM

I think the effects of one or more successful large-scale terror attacks within the USA is beyond predicting.
The bushco will want to clamp down, but they dare not stall elections. No one would put up with that! ... would they?
Some will blame bush for being soft, some for provoking "blowback".
Some will want to reach understanding and coexistence, some will want to strike out.

I almost think nothing will change.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews at May 24, 2004 05:45 AM

The problem could be that in throwing these balloons out there, the admin indicates its ready for such an eventuality. If it happens and everything goes down the toilet, don't we get to ask "Why weren't you prepared (even more so than you should be after 9/11)". I think it has implications, of course this relys on a critical press corps, sigh, oh well.

Posted by: Mick at May 24, 2004 03:20 PM