I’m trying to sort out just what role who played in apprehending the plot to blow up airplanes using liquid explosives. Doing that with only the news media as my source is not easy, since the media can only go by what they are told or can only quote what is said. The picture is, at best, cloudy.
George W. is saying that our anti-terrorism forces played a significant role, and we all know that the President of The United States of America would not falsely take credit, don’t we? (We do know that, right?) My problem is that I cannot find anyone else, either in this country or in Britain, that credits any US agencies with any constructive role. Well, I think Cheney has mumbled a few words, but…
The best picture I can get is that the British called and told us they had guys in their sights who were planning to blow up airplanes heading for America, but that they didn’t want to arrest them yet because the plot wasn’t very far along and they wanted to let it play out so that they could get the ringleaders. We freaked out and bullied the British into making the arrests right now, even though the perpetrators didn’t have any airline tickets (or even reservations) yet, and most of them didn’t even have passports at that point.
Well, as the British might say, aren’t we a plucky lot.
These are the same agencies (US of A) who prevented the nefarious plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. A plot being hatched in Miami by guys who had never been north of Atlanta and who were preparing for this plot by gathering in a warehouse and practicing close order drill in full view of dozens of onlookers. Guys whose only contact with Al Qaeda was an agent pretending to be Al Qaeda, and they asked him for boots. Not weapons or bomb-making material, mind you, boots.
Boy, I’m glad we dodged that one.
They also saved us from the plotters who planned to flood lower Manhattan by blowing up a tunnel that is carved in solid rock below water level. And Manhattan is, hello, above sea level anyway. These plotters didn’t possess any weapons or explosives, they had maps of New York City with X’s marked on them.
I mean, really, how seriously can we take unarmed plotters who don’t know what sea level is? At least they apparently were already adequately shod, because there's no reports of them asking our agents for any boots.
Then they saved us from the two guys with a hundred cell phones who were going to use them to blow up the Mackinac Bridge. What? I have studied my cell phone very carefully and it looks very non-explosive to me, but now I’m afraid to put it in my pocket. Oh, wait, they were going to use them as detonators. To detonate what? “Oh gee, I brought the detonators with me but I left all of my explosives at home. Silly me.”
I swear, this is just embarrassing. The British detect a threat, and our contribution is to interfere with them because a) we’re concerned that our hundred agents dashing all over the US with their hair on fire looking for more conspirators (they didn’t find any) might blow the British cover and b) we’re freaked out that they might mess up and let one or more bombers onto an airplane.
(Let's see. They detected the plot, and we're afraid they are going to screw it up. Right, just who is playing Keystone Cops here?)
And, of course we're waving our arms and screaming that the plot is tied to Al Queda; except, oops, maybe it's not.
The British have got to be rolling on the floor laughing at us.
I would be too, except that I do not have a nice warm fuzzy feeling that the hundreds of agents dashing all over the US looking for and not finding any conspirators had a single clue what they were doing.
Meanwhile, I need to go to North Island today and that means crossing the Coronado Bridge with a cell phone in my pocket.
Oh crap, is some federal agent going to stop me and think I left my bomb at home? I wish the British were on guard.