After yesterday’s premature deflation of the
Orwell Bush administration’s post-Democratic convention fear offensive, it’s no surprise that the Bushites spent Wednesday trying to relaunch their War on Terror™ trial balloon. And so it is that both the Washington Post and New York Times have major articles for this morning with anonymous Bushite officials boasting that the dubious intelligence behind this weekend’s highly publicized warning led to the arrest of “a suspected senior member of Al Qaeda in Britain.”
Except that there seem to be the usual troubles with getting their story straight. While both the Times and Post say that the cell leader in question (Eisa al-Hindi) was arrested as a result of the intelligence on Tuesday, Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder reports that a key part of the intelligence on which the warning was based came from an unnamed “senior al-Qaida operative” who was already “in British custody” — and, in fact, was reported as such on Monday.
This is disturbingly familiar, and not just because of Knight Ridder bucking the official line. Didn’t we just get through another fear-oriented PR blitz with anonymous Bushites telling ominous stories to newspapers and suggesting it was the “tip of the iceberg,” followed by stern-looking officials going on TV to advertise their determination to protect us from evil?
It turned out that the
fairy tales reports of Iraq’s nefarious plans weren’t the tip of the iceberg, after all — in fact, the iceberg itself was more like a unicorn, something that only existed in the storytellers’ imagination.
Is our press going to let itself be stampeded again into believing that the
Orwell Bush administration is our only bulwark against terrorist-inflicted doom? Are we going to let ourselves be stampeded again?
Update: The stampede continues, =http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Northeast/08/05/ny.mosqueraid.apsays CNN[/url]:
Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, New York, were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to help a man they thought was a terrorist who wanted to purchase a shoulder-fired missile, federal authorities said Thursday.
. . . The individual was an undercover government agent and no missile ever changed hands. Aref and Hoosain were allegedly involved in money-laundering aspects of the plot, the officials said.
The investigation has been going on for a year and is not related to the Bush administration’s decision earlier this week to raise the terror alert level for certain financial sector buildings in New York and Washington, the officials said.
The headlines will say “Missile Plot Disrupted,” but of course the only terrorist plot existed in the minds of the federal agents. And, of course, since there was no real plot, they could schedule the announcement of the arrests whenever it was convenient.
Are they really going to try to trot something like this out every day between now and the election, or will they settle for a little flurry here and there whenever they think it’s necessary to shore up their poll numbers?