- Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing
terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep
President Bush's approval ratings high,
<http://www.capitolhillblue.com/>Capitol Hill Blue reports.
- The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging
in "hysterics" in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in
- "Unfortunately, we haven't made a lot of progress against
al-Qaida or the war on terrorism," one FBI agent familiar with terrorism
operations told CHB. "We've been spinning our wheels for several weeks
- Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence
Agency said the administration is pressuring intelligence agencies to develop
"something, anything" to support an array of non-specific terrorism alerts
issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
- "Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed
snippets of information," a second FBI agent, who also was not named in the
report, said. "Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to back up the
- Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued
absent specific threat information. Each of the accompanying warnings comes
without any shift in the nation's new color-coded alert system;
current warning level of yellow, or "elevated," has been in place since late
- Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have
slipped into the country via Canada using phony identification could be
politically motivated, one expert said.
- "We have very, very little to support the notion that these
five represent any more of a threat than any of the other thousands of people
who enter this nation every day," terrorism expert Ronald Blackstone said. "It's
a fishing expedition."
- On Wednesday, one of the five, a Pakistani jeweler, Mohammed
Asghar, was tracked down in Pakistan by The Associated Press. He told reporters
there he'd never been to the U.S., though he said he tried once ö two months ago
ö to use false documents to get into Britain to find work.
- "I imagine the finger pointing has started at the White
House," Blackstone said.
- On Thursday, President Bush said of the Asghar case: "We need
to follow up on forged passports and people trying to come into our country
- "Don't misunderstand, there is a real terrorist threat to this
country," another FBI agent told CHB. But, the agent continued, "every time we
go public with one of these phony 'heightened state of alerts,' it just numbs
the public against the day when we have another real alert."
- Last year, the FBI issued alerts that terrorists may attack
stadiums, nuclear power plants, shopping centers, synagogues, apartment houses,
subways, and the Liberty Bell, the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York City
landmarks, reported Knight-Ridder newspapers. The bureau also advised Americans
to be wary of small airplanes, fuel tankers and scuba divers.
- CHB reported that FBI and CIA sources said a recent White
House memo listing the war on terrorism as a definitive political advantage and
fund-raising tool is just one of many documents discussing how to best utilize
the terrorist threat.
- "Of course the White House is going to exploit the terrorism
threat to the fullest political advantage," said Democratic strategist Russ
Barksdale. "They would be fools not to. We'd do the same thing."
- The White House did not return phone calls from WorldNetDaily
- Knight-Ridder Newspapers, meanwhile, reported the FBI has
never meant for all its warnings and advisories to be made public.
- "Everything is being described as a terror alert, and that's
not what this stuff is," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the Department of
Homeland Security, in a July interview.
- But, he added, "if information is becoming public, then we
naturally cannot work in a vacuum and pretend like all this information is not
- "We live in a world of threats; not all of them necessitate a
warning," says FBI terrorist warning chief Kevin Giblin, a 27-year veteran of
the bureau. He told Knight-Ridder there should be a generally increased level of
vigilance, and he looks to the color-coded advisory system ö not the alerts
intended for police ö to signal it.
- The threat of terrorism may also be helping the White House
manage the sagging economy. Officials at home finance giant Freddie Mac said
yesterday that the threat of terrorism may have played a role in bringing
30-year mortgage rates down to 5.85 percent, their lowest since an average 5.83
percent in 1965.
- "Current issues such as the possibility of military actions
abroad, heightened terrorism alerts and an unexpected drop in consumer
confidence contributed to the decline in mortgage rates this week," Frank
Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, told Reuters.