Thursday, July 14, 2005

Be Afraid.... Be Very Afraid - These Guys Don't Care Who Dies

Based on an ABC News report tonight, there is evidence that the Bush Administration's political use of the Terror Threat Advisory System, may have resulted in preventing British authorities from identifying and rounding up many of the individuals responsible for last week's bombings in London. AMERICABlog has the most thorough reporting and analysis available right now.

Here is the short version of events:

[...] Pakistani authorities recovered the laptop of a captured Al Qaeda leader, Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, on July 13, 2004. On that laptop, they found plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway. According to an expert interviewed by ABC, "there is absolutely no doubt that Khan was part of a worldwide Al Qaeda operation, not just in the United States but also in Great Britain and throughout the west."
[...] The NYT reported on August 17, 2004 that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced on August 1, 2004 that we had information about an "unusually specific" threat against "the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup in Manhattan, Prudential's headquarters in Newark and the headquarters buildings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington."

[...] We now know that this threat info came from Mr. Khan's computer that we got our hands on only weeks before. As a result of the heightened security alert, the media dug into the story to find out what the heightened alert was based on, and they got a hold of Mr. Khan's name and made it public.

[...] That was important because Khan was remaining in touch with his Al Qaeda contacts AFTER his arrest - he was our mole - and the authorities were thus tracking INSIDE Al Qaeda. Once the American official made the info about Khan's arrest public, our mole inside the cell was blown, and the British police, caught off guard, had to make a high speed chase, literally, to catch Khan's contacts before they fled. THAT'S the raid that ABC is talking about. And it's that raid that - guess what? - didn't catch everybody who was plotting to blow up London last week. That's the raid that got botched. (emphasis mine)
There were no credible "specific threats" against New York buildings in the summer of 2004, but there was a "specific threat" to George Bush's presidency brewing in Boston at the Democratic National Convention. It was in response to that threat that caused Tom Ridge to start the process that revealed Khan and kept the British from rolling up the conspiracy.

The Bush Administration doesn't want to protect Americans, it wants to protect itself.

(CNN photo)