Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tales of Terror 
  WASHINGTON — The United States intercepted electronic communications this week among senior operatives of Al Qaeda [since identified as Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of the global terrorist group, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa...
    The above lede from the NY Times  raises some questions. For instance:
    It’s been 12 years since the world’s  most powerful military, informed by the world’s most expensive intelligence apparat, began waging relentless war on Al Qaeda. Yet this latest alert implies that the longest war in our history hasn’t accomplished much. Washington is tacitly admitting that, after all those drone strikes and special ops, Al Qaeda still has “senior operatives” able to plan wide-ranging attacks by way of conference calls. 
     Were these Al Qaeda confabs conducted in clear or in code? If it was the former, Al Qaeda executives are among the stupidest terrorists ever. If they were in code, then U.S. intelligence operatives are the stupidest counterterrorists ever for revealing by their alert that they had broken Al Qaeda’s code.
     And why, 12 years after 9/11, do the terrorists still “chatter” about their plans even though they know they’re being listened to? Why do they alert Washington by increasing that chatter whenever an attack is said to be imminent? You think they should have learned better by now.
    Popular  fiction about terrorism tends to be far more plausible than the nonsensical stuff put out by Washington. Would that our leaders could rise to the level of the writers for Chuck Norris movies. Then again, why should they when their tired old tales still work? Consider that it’s been 34 years, a third of a century, since Washington started warning us that Iran was on the verge of developing a nuke? And that inveracity remains serviceable to this day.
    Meanwhile, the Times did not completely give itself over to the terror tattlers. It reported deep in the same story cited above that, “Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the NSA's data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better.”
    That’s a take I can take.