Like watching the Jesse Ventura show. It's too bad you couldn't get the White House Press Corps to work from a script like that. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post will be along presently to try to figure out who thought that was a good idea. But first, wait, there's more from the fog of war, playing three acts, to White House Press Room unscripted. The first topic there was, guess what, whether or not the whole deal with the soldiers had been rehearsed. Once again, you are there.
At 517 p.m. Eastern time, seven hours after the President's speech has begun, New York officials disclose a bomb threat to the city's subway system based on information supplied by the federal government. A Homeland Security spokesman says the intelligence upon which the disclosure is based is of doubtful credibility. And it later proves that New York City had known of the threat for at least three days and had increased police presence in the subways long before making the announcement at that particular time. Local New York television station WNBC reports it had the story of the threats days in advance of the announcement but was asked by high-ranking federal officials in New York and Washington to hold off on its story. Less than four days after having revealed the threat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York says, 'Since the period of the threat now seems to be passing, I think over the immediate future we'll slowly be winding down the enhanced security.' While news organizations ranging from the New York Post to NBC News quotes sources who say there was reason to believe the informant who triggered the warning simply made it up, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official tells the New York Times, quote, 'there was no there there.'
As I tried to emphasize in the commentary, hindsight plus the logical fallacy can be a dangerous combination. But can you look at the list of the 10 juxtapositions, especially the two that pertain to around the time of the Democratic Convention last year And obviously, there are lists that are longer that have been compiled elsewhere that are based on different criteria and are of different merit. But can you look at that list of 10 juxtapositions and say that, in your heart, you're comfortable that not once were political considerations a factor in any of the counterterrorism statements or actions of the government
The Department of Homeland Security raises the alert status for financial centers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington to orange. The evidence supporting the warning, reconnaissance data left in a home in Iraq, later proves to be roughly four years old and largely out of date. Number 10. Last Thursday, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, the President addresses the National Endowment for Democracy, once again emphasizing the importance of the war on terror, and insisting his government has broken up at least 10 terrorist plots since 911. At 3 p.m. Eastern time, five hours after the President's speech has begun, the Associated Press reports that Karl Rove will testify again to the CIA leak grand jury and that special prosecutor Fitzgerald has told Rove he cannot guarantee that he will not be indicted.
The coincidences that I listed tonight could have the most distressing of possible explanations or the most encouraging of possible explanations or a mixture. But there's a larger issue, and I hope you have an idea of how to address it. Last Thursday, when New York City issued that warning within hours of that Karl Rove story, there were enough people who doubted the authenticity of the warning or who worried that the process had been contaminated in some way by politics, that they just did not believe it. What does the government have to do to eliminate the perception, even if it is a terrible tragic misperception that some of our leaders on this subject would cry wolf
-and that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack on the United States were complete. The color-coded warning system is not raised. The Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge, does not attend the announcement. Number eight. July 6, 2004. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry selects Senator John Edwards as his vice presidential running mate, producing a small bump in the election opinion polls and producing a huge swing in media attention towards the Democratic campaign. July 8, 2004. Two days later.
Speaking from Russia, Attorney General John Ashcroft reveals that an American named Jose Padilla is under arrest, accused of plotting a radiation bomb attack in this country. In fact, Padilla had, by this time, already been detained for more than one month. Number three. February 5, 2003. Secretary of State Powell tells the United Nations Security Council of Iraq's concealment of weapons, including 18 mobile biological weapons laboratories, justifying a U.N. or U.S. first strike. Many in the U.N. are doubtful. Months later, much of the information proves untrue. February 7, 2003. Two days later, as anti-war demonstrations continue to take place around the globe