the talking dog

August 3, 2004, This just in... terror alert based on pre-9-11 intel...

Yup. The veep thankfully sends us this WaPo piece showing that the bulk of the intel derived from the Pakistani on which the current terror specific-scare-the-cra-out-of-New-Yorkers alert is derived from pre-9-11 (i.e. security measure upgrades) surveillance by A.Q.

In short, the odds of this announcement being a cruel political move within 72 hours of Kerry's convention have gone from blue to orange. Thank you Bruce.
Not that we're not worried (the Convention is still coming...) but its not unhelpful to know from whence these things come.

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Whether or not the recent terror alerts were politically motivated -- as Gov Dean suggested -- Tom Ridge's BLATANT politicization of the war on terror should be condemend.

He clearly - via his statement - politiciazed national security and for that, he should be shown the door.

Posted by Steve at August 3, 2004 11:15 AM

Ol' Tom's got no choice. He sat out that first phony Code Orange and left Ashcroft and Asa Hutchinson to their own devices. After that, he clearly was told to play ball. Rumors of his resignation effective after the election are very believable. Not that his departure would be particularly noticeable . . . .

Meanwhile, TD, are you saying you don't find it reassuring to see cops in riot gear toting assault weapons ringing the NYSE? I know those CT State Troopers walking through our commuter trains are making a big difference.

If you have a moment, go check out Will Ferrell's new ad for ACT on the ACT website--it's really pretty funny.

Posted by mamayo at August 3, 2004 01:10 PM

The Will Ferrell ad is at

Posted by mamayo at August 3, 2004 01:21 PM

Tough words, coming from someone no one would mistake for a liberal Democrat...
But yes, Ridge-- who I used to respect--has seemingly earned his Bush-lauding bones with this one. I still recall the pained expression on Mayor Bloomberg's face-- "I can't go to the Hamptons for this?" That should have telegraphed it all to us, but it all quickly got emotional... that was the idea, of course.

I don't know how I feel seeing troops and police in heavy-shit riot gear and body armor carrying uzis and rifles and what not. Usually, it creeps me out. It kind of reminds me of my trip with the then not yet Mrs. TD to pre-democratic Brazil (or "proto-democratic Brazil"), where you saw that on every corner.

I saw similar things during visits to France and the former Soviet Union. I always liked walking around NYC and other American cities because we DIDN'T have military-looking guys around, with heavy armor...

I don't know how I feel... I want my city back. In some ways, I kind of DON'T want "reasonable precautions". Maybe its an illusion on my part-- but I think by putting all of us on perpetual edge, "the terrorists have won".

Even if they never succeed in striking here again.

Posted by the talking dog at August 3, 2004 01:52 PM

If, as so many say, Bush & Co abused the War on Terror internationally, why would we be surprised to see them do it domestically?
I am shocked, Shocked I say, to see that there is gambling going on in this establishment. It would seem that Bush & Co deserve to be run out of town on a rail. Instead, the Democrats could not even get a bounce from their Convention. That's virtually impossible. Unless you took very literally your premise that even a plank of wood could beat Bush. Only thing is, you got Wood and Wooder.

Posted by They Call Me Mr. Crabcake at August 3, 2004 03:25 PM


This one move-- making it unquestionably obvious that the war on terror will be exploited for political points-- has turned at least two of our usually-not-considered-icons-of-the-left readers somewhat critical of the sitting President and his DHS Secretary.

BTW--the reason the convention "bounce" was not huge is because we're just about out of undecided voters-- or even voters who say that they can be swayed to change their minds.

Which is bad for the incumbent... he tends to need a decent amount of late deciders settling on him as a "confort" factor. Not happening this year. Things is polarized.

Look: the polarizing was inevitable. Dean rode hatred of Bush to frontrunner status. Clark, like Kerry, was running for the military-man-contrast effect. Edwards was running as an honest to God liberal. No way any of them doesn't have an all-out war with Bush. Just the nature of things: Dubya is polarizing. In the same league as Hillary Clinton polarizing. Uniter not divider indeed-- he unites opposition to him like no one else.

But if we parse this current thing out, we in NYC (and I suppose, Newark and DC) were just played. I was scared shitless for 2 days. The intel on which I was scared is THREE YEARS OLD? Pre-dates 9-11, even? Latest "update" was over 6 MONTHS ago? THIS IS URGENT BREAKING NEWS, requiring Secretary Ridge to suggest that NYC might consider going TO RED ALERT (whatever that is)?

Had Ridge disclosed that the most chilling information (street traffic patterns, etc.) was THREE YEARS OLD, a lot more people would have slept better (or at all).

We are being played, we are being played, we are being played. And we are not happy.

And despite all this justifiable resentment of Bush & Co.-- I'm sure the geniuses at A.N.S.W.E.R. will still manage to screw up the protest.

Posted by the talking dog at August 3, 2004 05:00 PM

Okay, can we now assume that many officials may have perjured themselves before the 9-11 Commission?

Posted by alicia at August 3, 2004 06:51 PM

This non-lefty reader has always been critical of the sitting President. Do not take my disgust at the ineptitude of the Democratic Party as a ringing endorsement of the President. This administration has more than its share of bumbling, arrogant and disconnected leaders. This administration, however, has had to deal with our world going from a disengaged, obsessed, get rich before the bubble bursts society, to our living with a modicum of what the Israelis have always lived with. Have they made the transition well? Not particularly. But they have made strides. The Democrats on the other hand did nothing to prevent the attacks, did everything to enable the attacks, and have offered nothing by way of solution or resolution that might prevent future attacks.
If Bush & Co are using terror threats to garner votes, that makes them, in effect, terrorists. If they are, kick their asses out of office. But blame yourselves, or your Iowa naivete, for giving us nothing better than Kerry.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled ranting and conspiracy theories.

Posted by They Call Me Mr. Crabcake at August 3, 2004 09:09 PM

Right, I'm not a liberal Democrat but neither am I a Bush-Republican. Politicizing national security gets my Irish up no matter which party is doing it.

And I'm glad you were able to make sense of my original comment with all the shameful typos..

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