Saturday, July 08, 2006

Chattering class

As a follow-up to yesterday's "terrorist plot" stunt and the obvious politics involved, Raw Story has a more detailed report of CIA officials stating that claims of a so-called plot were overblown. Way overblown:
One former intelligence field officer says, and two other CIA officials confirm, that the alleged plot by Muslim extremists to bomb the Holland Tunnel in New York City was nothing more than chatter by unaffiliated individuals with no financing or training in an open forum already monitored extensively by the United States Government.

“The so-called New York tunnel plot was a result of discussions held on an open Jihadi web site,” said Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and contributor to American Conservative magazine, in a late Friday afternoon conversation. Although Giraldi acknowledges that the persons involved – “three of whom have already been arrested in Lebanon and elsewhere - are indeed extremists," their online chatter is considerably overblown by allegations of an actual plot.

“They are not professionally trained terrorists, however, and had no resources with which to carry out the operation they discussed," Giraldi added. "Despite press reports that they had asked Abu Musab Zarqawi for assistance, there is no information to confirm that. It is known that the members discussed the possibility of approaching Zarqawi but none of them knew him or had any access to him.”
Though it seems hard to imagine the Bush administration engaging in such behaviour, further speculation sees that the announcement yesterday may have been "politically motivated" and that the public announcement, once again, may have actually harmed counterterrorism efforts:
Two other intelligence officials with experience in the field on extremist operations concurred--and expressed concern that what could have been an operation to eventually track known extremists (should they eventually make actual contact with funds and training,) seems to have been exposed for political gain.
I have not yet figured out why the CIA hates America.

And finally,
In sum, the plot, if that is what we would call it, was not well conceived, and there was no possibility of flooding Wall Street. There was no connection to a cell in the US. Finally, professional terrorists generally do not discuss targeting on open channels. As it was being monitored from the beginning of the open discussion, there was little chance anything concrete would have developed.
Even Michael Chertoff agrees with this:
It was never a concern that this would actually be executed… We were, as I say, all over this.
Will these guys ever tire of horking up this bullshit?


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