October 23, 2004


FBI chases new leads on election attack plot, as CIA source discredited (JENNIFER C. KERR, October 23, 2004, Associated Press)

FBI investigators have made new arrests and developed leads that reinforce concerns that terrorists plan to strike around the presidential election, officials said Saturday, even though the CIA has discredited a person who told its agents of such a plot involving al-Qaida.

A senior FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some of the leads were culled from interviews with thousands of individuals that agents have conducted in the Muslim community.

The official would not be more specific, but said the FBI continues to have misgivings about possible al-Qaida intentions to launch an attack with the goal of affecting the elections.

Several people have been taken into custody recently on charges not related to terrorism, but officials are investigating whether they may have been involved in terror activities, said another law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

As for the person who warned the CIA, at least some of that individual's reporting no longer is seen as credible, said a U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official stressed, however, that a number of other sources point to terrorist activity around the election season.

Does that clear things up for you?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2004 6:12 PM

Of course people in terrorist circles would be talking about strikes around the time of the election. "Dreaming" might be a better description.
Bad guys are always flapping their gums and acting tough; it makes it difficult to figure out if they have any actual intent and capability to mount an attack.

In any case, there's no longer any political gain to be had for the terrorists by striking America. If they'd hit a couple of months ago, there'd have been time for anger to fade and blame to be assigned, but if they hit hard now, Bush gets 70% of the vote, and a clear mandate to open the Gates of Hell.

Really, the terrorists must all be illiterate boobs.
What informed, thinking person believes that they've seen the worst that the US can dish out ?
As Orrin is fond of pointing out, America is neither spending much money, nor attempting to expand the size of the military.

If Americans got really riled, doubling both the size of the military, and the military budget, are easily done.
If Americans got homicidally angry, spending three trillion dollars or so, and putting 10 million people under arms, would be both logistically and politically possible.
However, I don't think that any terror group is capable of doing enough damage to cause the last scenario.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 2:24 AM

Michael: If Americans got really riled, there is always the nuclear option, which doesn't require any more expense or manpower.

Posted by: jd watson at October 24, 2004 3:45 AM

Yeah, there's always nuking 'em, but would America pre-emptively use nuclear weapons ?

It kills a whole lot of mostly innocent people, and it seems more likely to me that we'd try to change their society or government first, as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'Course, if the US ever gets nuked, then all bets are off.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 7:40 AM


In a heartbeat.

Posted by: oj at October 24, 2004 9:39 AM

No, that's your dream, but we didn't even use them on the "Evil Empire", with more provocation.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 11:38 AM

What provocation?

Posted by: oj at October 24, 2004 1:18 PM

The Korean and Vietnam wars, plus the Cuban missile deployment.

Not to mention the nuke that used to be in the attic of the Soviets' D.C. Embassy.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 4:53 PM

The Soviets wisely backed down or stayed out of all three.

Posted by: oj at October 24, 2004 5:32 PM

You believe that the Russians weren't involved in Korea or Vietnam ?

You may wish to read on the subject.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 25, 2004 6:12 AM