New FBI Warning: Al Qaeda Plans U.S. Mall Attacks Holiday Season
There’s yet another warning about a planned Al Qaeda attack in the United States — and the danger is that the political contamination of the terrorism issue, the perceived use of it by the Bush administration in past elections, and a jaded public could mean a serious warning could be shrugged off when and if it comes.
News reports suggest there is already some question about the latest one (that is sure to be disseminated for information purposes via some news outlets and used for political purposes by some others):
The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning.
The alert said al Qaeda “hoped to disrupt the U.S. economy and has been planning the attack for the past two years.”
Law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com that the FBI received the information in late September and declassified it yesterday for wide distribution.
The alert, like similar FBI and Department of Homeland Security terror alerts issued over the past five years at holiday times, raised questions about the credibility of the information.
It’s this constant “oh by the way” that is lessening the impact of these alerts because part of the public has stopped believing them (the part that feels the administration took Fox News consultant Dick Morris’ advice and played the security card in elections) and part of the public that won’t pay much attention until and unless there is an attack because too many alarmist news stories increasingly lose their sense of urgency:
The bulletin acknowledges that U.S. intelligence officers are uncertain as to whether the information is real, and intelligence officers say there is a concern that it could be “disinformation.”
Law enforcement officials at three different agencies told ABCNews.com the FBI alert was based on a source who has proved reliable in the past.
The source reportedly had only “indirect access” to al Qaeda and word of the actual threat came to U.S. intelligence officers “through a lengthy chain” of contacts.
With the shopping season approaching, however, the FBI officials decided it was necessary to share the information.
The FBI move is wise. It’s better for police and mall officials to be on the alert, than ignore it.
On the other hand, the problem with “disinformation” is it could signal that terrorist forces are trying to get the U.S. to place its attention — and resources — in one direction while an actual terrorist attack will come somewhere else out of the blue.
Also read the Reuters story HERE.