Data That Prompted Terror Alert Pre-dates 9/11
Remember how the Department of Homeland Security put those financial centers on Orange Alert because of intelligence he described as “alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information”?
Funny story: it turns out that the intelligence that he was referring to is actually pretty old — so old that it actually pre-dates the September 11 attacks:
Most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday.
More than half a dozen government officials interviewed yesterday, who declined to be identified because classified information is involved, said that most, if not all, of the information about the buildings seized by authorities in a raid in Pakistan last week was about three years old, and possibly older.
“There is nothing right now that we’re hearing that is new,” said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. “Why did we go to this level? . . . I still don’t know that.”
So DHS is throwing the alarm lever over information they’ve had in hand for three years? What the hell is that about?
Howard Dean took plenty of flak for suggesting that the motivation for this alert might be more political than security-oriented. He’s looking a lot smarter about this stuff today than the people (myself included) who took DHS seriously are.