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These People Scare Me

ChertoffWhat’s wrong with this picture? (h/t to Amato at C&L)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has called an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday to discuss a potential new al Qaeda threat on U.S. soil, ABC News reported on Tuesday.

Top intelligence and law enforcement officials have been told to meet in the White House Situation Room to report on steps to minimize or counter the threat and what steps are being taken to tighten security at government buildings, ABC said.

The meeting would be one of a number that have been convened in light of new intelligence and information learned from the recent failed car bomb attempts in London, ABC reported, citing a senior U.S. administration official.

The unnamed official told ABC the level of concern of a new attack in the United States was now higher than it had been in some time.

The White House had no immediate comment on the report.

Here are your choices for what this story means (there may be more than one correct answer):

A. If there is an imminent threat, requiring an emergency security meeting, then (1) why is it publicized but with no useful information given to the public (2) why is the meeting not scheduled until Thursday? “Bin laden planning to attack America, but not until next Friday?” Did Cheney steal the “For the President’s Use Only” insta-selective-declassification wand again?

B. It will take two days to get the lab tests back on Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff’s “gut feeling” that an attack is likely. His abdomen is flashing pink, now, and the Administration has turned intelligence gathering into navel gazing. For more on Chertoff, read Larisa Alexandrovna (h/t Stephen Parrish).

C. The President needs to couple fear of al Qaeda, 9/11, and the war in Iraq as a distraction from the upcoming report that almost none of the milestones set in the Supplemental Iraq Funding bill two months ago have been met.

D. The President needs to rekindle fears to keep a growing number of Republican Senators from cutting and running on his Iraq policies. None of them will figure out what the British know, that killing people in Iraq does nothing to protect us from home grown terror threats, though there probably is a connection.

E. The President and his party are terrified that the American people hate this war; they have no confidence in the President and 70 percent want a withdrawal by next Spring while over 60 percent think it was a mistake to invade Iraq in the first place.

F. The President fears the American people will agree that Senator Webb’s amendment, which requires that the Pentagon give our combat soldiers sufficient time between deployments to recover, reequip and retrain before being sent back to an impossible mission, is the best way to “support our troops,” and that it means the surge can’t extend beyond next Spring.

G. The President and his party have concluded that Senator Lieberman’s argument that we should “give our troops a break” by not giving them sufficient time between deployments has exposed the President’s supporters to the charge they don’t really support the troops.

H. Or they realize that Senator Graham’s arguments (CSPAN-2 last night) that “we have Al Qaeda on the run” and that the Webb amendment is the equivalent of the U.S. Cavalry “coming to the rescue of al Qaeda” makes Republicans look even more ridiculous.

Frankly, I have a hard time picking a favorite, so I’ll stick with “all of the above.”

The American people can figure out that if there really were a genuine, imminent threat of another attack on US soil it would mean (1) the policy of “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” has both failed and even worse, likely provoked another attack here and (2) it’s foolhardy to have our forces, including much of your National Guard, bogged down in Iraq.

This President and his party have lost the war, lost the argument for war, betrayed the public’s trust, lost the confidence of the American people and lost the right to govern. It’s time for them to go.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley