Monday, October 10, 2005

My Brother is Coming, and He Brings Many Fremen Warriors 

Crossposted from the NCB

Well, it looks like thrifting has been postponed for a little while, so let's talk about this:

By Jonathan S. Landay and Shannon McCaffrey
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - A recent U.S. military raid on a terrorist group's hideout south of Baghdad, Iraq, netted intelligence that prompted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to warn Thursday that the metropolis' sprawling subway system faced an explicit threat of terrorist attacks.
U.S intelligence and law enforcement officials in Washington, however, cautioned that the information that triggered Bloomberg's warning was shaky.
"The intelligence community believes that, although the information is specific, it is of doubtful credibility," said Russ Knocke, the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.
Knocke said U.S. experts were continuing to evaluate the information but had passed it on to New York and New Jersey officials early on out of an "abundance of caution."

I'm sure lots of other folks have covered this, as I got it from the ever productive Cursor. But basically, this clusterfuck of warning "systems" is a really good place to start a discussion about just Who the Fuck is In Charge and on what the hell we're spending all these trillions in the WOT. Bupkis comes to mind, after KBR, Halliburton, and Dyncorps.

Anyway, here's the fun part:

U.S. intelligence officials said U.S. forces earlier in the week had raided a base belonging to Ansar al Islam, a small group linked to al-Qaida comprised of Islamic extremists from Iraq's Kurdish minority, in the city of Musayaf, south of Baghdad.

The raid recovered information that 19 suicide bombers using suitcases and baby carriages planned to hit the New York subway system, they said.

Ok, first off- the Kurds, however misunderstood, have been frequently posited to be our strongest "allies" in Iraq, and we've even pissed off the Turks, our longtime Muslim friends in the region, to placate Kurdish demands. Kurds have successfully kept the administration in the game of pretending to care about minorities, and otherwise been less in the news stories that tell us of Iraq's "bloody violence today" than say, the Shia groups we're fighting.

But even if all that's wrong and the Kurds are the Greatest Threat to American Freedom ever in the history of war, I'm still a little fuzzy about how the Terra Warning system is supposed to work. Some group of guys breaks into some enclave overseas, said guys being trained to kill, blow things up, and perhaps read a few lines of Arabic. Those guys pass it on to someone higher up the chain, who then gives it to whomever he sees fit?

In this case, it seems the FBI got into the mix. How? Why? I know all sorts of laws have been passed to encourage "sharing" between all our various intel agencies domestic and otherwise, but what I want to know is about hierarchy. Does the FBI care more about NYC than other cities? Does the DIA care less? What about the CIA? Isn't it a specialty of theirs to say, evaluate intel from multiple sources and give it to the local or federal gov't agencies when action is required?

Here's an example of how journalism is not helping me understand the matter:

The U.S. intelligence officials, who also declined to discuss the matter for attribution, said intelligence analysts were skeptical of the intelligence because the threats against the New York subway system had appeared for several days on a Muslim extremist Web site that's regularly monitored.

No one wants to be named, I don't even know which agency this person works for, nor will they tell us which website and who exactly is monitoring it. Fine, I guess I'm nobody and don't really need to know. But given the fact that Bloomie made himself out to be a fool, and took the FBI along with him, you'd think these folks would try a little harder to do that wonderous thing called "fact checking." You know, put in a call to the WH or CIA and ask for more details. Obviously, whatever the FBI had wasn't very specific and turned out to be nothing important.

We're spending billions a month on something in this so called "war" on "terror." It seems we can't win the former, nor accurately define and predict the latter. You'd think one or two Republicans would care about this, but I suppose they're all too busy making out like bandits to care about how foolish our intel services are being made to look.

And finally, I'll say this: either there is no real terror threat, or we're going to suffer from an incredible series of attacks that will utterly disrupt this nation and probably kill millions. If the first isn't true, than all the recent farcical snafus and demonstrations of incompetence surely have to be enough to convince ANY terrorist group that the US is wide open, and slack jawed with unpreparedness. It's a simple matter of putting up a dozen conflicting websites making a claim, while following through on a totally different plan not posted. Our intel folks will be so occupied running around after fake threats, a group of nuns could successfully bomb a dozen cities before law enforcement would be able to react.

Consider this one of my less CT minded posts. I have other ideas about terra warnings, but today is Rational Monday, or something.

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