Belmont Club

Partly Truth and Partly Fiction

NBC news described the state of public knowledge about the terror threat that’s closed down 21 or more American embassies and consulates and which several other Western countries have emulated. “A meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Susan Rice was held at the White House Saturday evening to discuss the latest intelligence regarding the threat of an al Qaeda attack. There are different views among analysts — including whether a plot is already underway, with team members already selected, as reported Saturday by CBS. … There is no consensus on whether the plot is underway, officials told NBC News.”

The other way to put it was how Peter King summarized things: there ” is very specific information about the fact that there is a plot, that attacks are planned, but again it’s not certain as to where.”  The world’s become like Watertown, according to Daniel Pipes.  There’s a terrorist out there somewhere, but nobody’s quite sure where. So shelter in place, this time globally.

Notwithstanding the fact that the authorities publicly say they don’t have all the details, the “Intel community worried Obama administration disclosed too much about latest al Qaeda threat”.

Intelligence officials are dismayed that the administration provided so much detail on what prompted the closings, and that the disclosures could work against obtaining new information. Militants are now likely searching for the sources of the information to both the U.S. and Yemeni officials, and almost certainly will kill anyone they suspect of working with Western intelligence.

“There simply are not that many who would know about the attacks,” says one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence officer, “so it won’t be hard for al Qaeda leaders to pin-point the sources of information. Once that happens, they certainly won’t be working with us anymore.”

And all this uproar is before the hundreds of newly-freed al-Qaeda escapees get back to their clandestine cells. Bill Gertz thinks the recent escape of hundreds of hard core terrorists are “threat to the region”. Surely they are. But the jailbreaks were only a few weeks ago, meaning that the current threats to the embassy were probably planned before the bust-outs. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

Does that mean the jailbreaks and the threats to the embassies are  part of an al-Qaeda resurgence? Nope. The Christian Science Monitor’s Mark Sappenfield quotes sources who suggest that the recent attacks suggest that al-Qaeda is dying. Don’t be misled. Things aren’t getting worse, they’re getting better, even if doesn’t look that way.

While Al Qaeda has by some measures become larger since 9/11, it has become less cohesive, according to a recent study by the RAND Corp., a defense and security consultancy. This means that the goals and capabilities of the various branches have shifted from attacking the American homeland to achieving narrower goals.

The conventional wisdom is that the administration has the AQ on the run now. And just as the threat is understood as specific but nebulous, the administration is dealing with the worldwide security threat in a serious but casual way.

President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers met at the White House on Saturday to discuss the potential threat of terrorist attacks that caused Washington and its allies to issue travel warnings and close embassies throughout the Middle East….

Obama is spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat after playing golf earlier on Saturday. His birthday is Sunday.

The White House said Obama had received regular briefings about the potential threat and U.S. preparedness measures all week. Rice and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco briefed him after the high-level meeting on Saturday, it said.

The Obama administration is in an interesting phase, one in which things are under control but falling apart, where they are winning but they’re losing, when the economy is booming but real unemployment is unexpectedly high. It’s a time when Obamacare is just around the corner but just postponed.

Of course it won’t last. The symmetry breaks and the situation becomes either one of winning or losing.  Congressman Keith Ellison believes it can still go either way though. ‘There’s Plenty of Money, It’s Just the Government Doesn’t Have It’. Yet. In anticipation of that, let’s write a song and call it, “Hand in your pocket”. Here’s how it should go.

I’ve lost but I’m winning
I’m poor but don’t mind
I’m sad but I’m grinning, yeah
I see but I’m blind
I’m game but I’m overwhelmed
I’m toast but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in your pocket
And the other one bumming cigarettes.

Don’t smoke ’em too fast.


The threat is specific, serious and included dates. It’s just that none of the specifics are exact.

The US extends closures through August 10? Does that mean the “all clear” sounds on August 11? What happens if the AQ postpones?

The planned attack is “big” and “strategically significant”. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says the decision to keep the embassies and consulates closed is “not an indication of a new threat” which implies it is a development of the current one.

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The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
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No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
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