So you probably all heard the news that there has been some “credible” but “unconfirmed” reports of the possibility that car bombs will explode in New York City in the next couple of days. Specifically, the New York Times reported, “A White House official said on Thursday evening that while the government has already stepped up its vigilance in advance of the anniversary, ‘the president directed the counterterrorism community to redouble its efforts in response to this credible but unconfirmed information.’
What does this really mean when you cut through the hyperbole and government talk? According to Vice President Biden, the threat is “credible,” because there are “specifics”, i.e., “car bombs” were described during what I assume was an intercepted or series of intercepted conversations. The information in the intercepted conversations was not “confirmed,” according to Biden however, because there is no other evidence — read: not even a scintilla of evidence — that corroborates the intercepted statements that “car bombs” would be used.
In fact, what is telling is that the CIA or the NSA or the DEA or whoever else was doing wiretapping has not even suggested or intimated who they were wiretapping. I assume the target or targets the three letter acronym agencies were wiretapping weren’t high value or even medium value or even low value. Because, let’s assume this: they were wiretapping a suspected terrorist or it came across an intercepted conversation of an unknown person talking to a suspected terrorist or an associate of a suspected terrorist, then the suggestion could at least be articulated that the intercepted conversations describing the “car bomb” threat are not completely “unconfirmed.”
For all we know, the three letter agencies wiretapped a sheep farmer who said, “Hey, did you hear from Ibrahim that he heard from Muhammed that he believes Al Queda might use car bombs on around Sept 11 in New York City?”
Under the definition and standards given by our government, this would be a “credible” but “unconfirmed” threat.
I think it’s fair to say that I don’t want to get blown up or seen anyone blown up by a damn car bomb. But I don’t know what or who the hell these announcements serve, other than to do one or all of the following: raise fear, breed apathy, increase overtime for law enforcement, or provide legitimacy to Homeland Security and other government agencies. They are not much different than the color threat rating levels.
These announcements provide us with absolutely no information and in my opinion, make us less vigilant, not more.