July 11, 2007

AQ Cell On The Way To The US?

ABC News reported last night that US officials believe that an al-Qaeda cell is either coming to America, or has already arrived, to conduct a terrorist attack. In reviewing some of the communications from the failed attacks in Britain, analysts believe they have uncovered other coded messages in e-mail traffic that points to an attack here, although the White House denies that they have any evidence of an imminent threat:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials tell ABC News new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.

The White House has convened an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday afternoon to deal with the new threat. ...

Law enforcement officials say the recent failed attacks in London have provided important new clues about possible tactics.

And officials say the London attackers use of the Internet left important clues that are being used to decode other e-mails that had initially been deemed unimportant but are now taking on new significance.

Concern should always be high about AQ attempts to attack America. We pay a lot of people to remain very concerned about that very possibility, and just the fact that AQ staged attacks in Britain should lead us to at least strongly consider that they're going to try it here as well. However, the attacks in Britain did not get carried out by recent arrivals to that country; the perpetrators entered the UK over a two-year period and established themselves in professional jobs. That follows the same pattern as the 9/11 attackers here, although the "muscle" hijackers only came to the US three months prior to the attacks.

The White House acknowledges the concern, but in the response given to ABC, denies that any specific imminent threat. That seems to be underscored by ABC's reporting, which states that the meeting to review the new information will be held two days after the ABC report. It doesn't take two days to put together an multiagency meeting in an emergency. Other tasks can get pushed aside very quickly, and if top security officials think they have an imminent threat on their hands, responsible parties would assemble in a manner of minutes, not days.

We know AQ has been trying to promote more attacks, but that effort started in 2005 with missives to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to start conducting attacks outside of Iraq. Those public exhortations have been known for at least two years. The issue would not be that a cell had just arrived or is in transit to the US, but that it may have been here for the last year or two and may become active soon. With Zawahiri issuing a number of statements in the past few months, that might indicate that a sleeper cell like the one in the UK has been ordered to become active and attack.

That's the real threat, and it has been all along.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (31)

Posted by Continuum | July 11, 2007 7:59 AM

This is news?????????

I thought the Bush Admin had been saying this for last 4 years.

Wow, let's raise the color code to deep chartreuse.

Posted by TomB | July 11, 2007 8:28 AM

I can already hear the Liberal press screaming about the Administration trying to shift our attention, violate civil liberties and other usual crap.
Incidentally the same brand of press in UK is blaming Security forces for NOT catching last year and this year bombers, since all the signs were supposedly there: military training (with Police videos available), petit crime, rape of non Muslim women, fundamental Islam, long trips to some Islamastans. It is therefore lazy and incompetent Security force to be blamed...
Now I can't wait for the screams when we even MENTION deportation of a "relatively new arrival" for "spiritual" trip to his (very extensive) family.
As you said, we are widely open and can't do too much about it.

Posted by markD | July 11, 2007 8:35 AM

We still have no secure borders. If there is an attack, I hope they go for the politicians who allow this situation to continue.

Posted by syn | July 11, 2007 8:36 AM

Atta's cell was living in Brooklyn in the late 1990's, before the war in Iraq, and a lot longer than 'the last year or two'

Actually back ion 1996-1997 didn't John O'Neil warn of terrorist cells already in the US ?

And if I recall correctly, those in the Ft Dix cell came through Brownville some 20 years ago?

It would be beneficial to remind ourselves that this war has been waged against America a lot longer than September 11, 2001.

Posted by dave rywall | July 11, 2007 8:42 AM

Everyone on the job of tracking down terrorist threats are already on the job 24/7.

Yipping to the media about a big emergency meeting about an imminent terrorist threat is probably the last thing you would do since that would alert the alleged cell that you were on to them, and perhaps that would have them accelerate their plans. And absolutlely, Ed - if the threat were so imminent, the meeting wouldn't be for Thursday - it would happen immediately.

The whole "story" smells like complete and utter horsesh*t.

Posted by howard lohmuller | July 11, 2007 8:44 AM

It is suprising to me that a howl from Al Queda could suddenly cause so many chicks to peep. It might be more productive for the media to pay more attention to a 3rd aircraft carrier group moving toward Iran, possibly the greatest projection of American naval power in years.

Posted by rbj | July 11, 2007 8:48 AM

Likely this is a ruse designed to flush out a suspected cell, maybe make them speed up their plans and tap into their communications. The real threats don't get blabbed to the press.

Posted by Continuum | July 11, 2007 8:50 AM

Too bad, Mama Bush didn't read Baby Bush the nursery story about

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

Posted by syn | July 11, 2007 8:59 AM


NeoCon is a former liberal mugged by reality meaning you're a vacuous castrated idiot.

Posted by the fly-man | July 11, 2007 9:13 AM

Could someone please name one of these US Senior Intelligence
officials? BTW wasn't John Kerry's plan to treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue ridiculed beyond? Hmmm......

Posted by Continuum | July 11, 2007 9:16 AM

Syn, what's this fascination you have with castration? I thought you had left the feminazis a long time ago.

Posted by not the senator | July 11, 2007 9:23 AM

You mean we aren't we already acting under the presumption that an al-Qaeda cell is either coming to America, or has already arrived? If not, what the hell has the DHS been doing for the last six years?

Just what is the purpose of this statement by Chertoff? To warn us? As I said, I think we''ve all been operating under the idea that we could be attacked again. To scare us? Terrorize us? If so, it sounds like we're doing what al-Qaeda wants. So I guess the terrorists really have won.

Posted by RBMN | July 11, 2007 9:40 AM

TIME Question of the Week - March 17, 2004

Following the terrorist attacks of March 11, 2004 in Madrid that killed more than 200 people, Spanish voters went to the polls over the weekend and handed the Socialist Party, led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a victory over former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's center-right Popular Party. The Socialists had opposed the war on Iraq, along with more than 90 percent of the Spanish population. Zapatero has vowed to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq despite calls from President Bush to stand by the U.S. occupation effort. Before the terrorist attacks, the Popular Party was expected to win the election, but many Spaniards argued that Spain's participation in the occupation of Iraq had made the country a target for Islamist terrorism and had led to the bombings in Madrid. What do you think? How will Spain's election results impact the U.S., Europe and the global war on terror?

Al-Qaeda may've decided that the Madrid bombings did have an effect on the Spanish election, and they want to make history repeat itself. The threat depends more on what they believe happened in Spain, than on what we believe happened.

Posted by Monkei | July 11, 2007 10:05 AM

It is my gut feeling that the sun will rise tomorrow ... maybe I can get a job at Homeland Security?

Posted by Paul A'Barge | July 11, 2007 10:15 AM

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

Ever seen that movie?

Posted by Neo | July 11, 2007 10:18 AM

You begin to wonder exactly what al-Qaeda is up to these days.

Posted by Monkei | July 11, 2007 10:23 AM

Gee, aren't some of these militia's who are anti US government, alive and well living in remote areas of Montana and Michigan, in reality, terrorist cells? They are not arabs or muslims and they don't wear decorative towels on their heads ... they just hate blacks, jews, gays, and taxes. They blow up federal buildings, olympic celebration street parties, and abortion clinics. And like Osama, they are able to hide in remote areas of our country's forests for years undetected by our modern surviellance technology until they are caught stealing food out of trash cans.

But please Mr. Chertoff, scare us somemore. I guess it works on some level.

Posted by docjim505 | July 11, 2007 10:31 AM

I'm never quite sure what to make of these warnings from the government. As has been pointed out, those of us who haven't had our heads in the sand since 9-11 (i.e. those of us who aren't liberals) KNOW that the terrorists are going to try again; it's only a matter of time. Warnings like this are akin to telling people in Florida that there might be hurricanes during the summer and early fall; no duh!

It's good to know that the government is on the lookout, but I tend to think of warnings like this as "pay it forward" CYA: if an attack DOES occur, the administration can at least claim, "We told you so."

But what should we citizens do? Avoid skyscrapers? Cancel trips to NYC and Washington? Take the train? Pack heat and be ready to plug anybody who says "Allah" in public? Move to a cabin in the middle of nowhere? I think that most people won't do much of anything; worrying about a terrorist attack has become akin to worrying about being hit by lightning. Please understand that I'm not making light of the threat, but rather noting that, contrary to a few sneering comments above, most people AREN'T terrorized.

Final note: if we have a terrorist attack, whose fault is it? If we DON'T have an attack, who gets the credit? Should we even concern ourselves with these questions?

Posted by Lew | July 11, 2007 11:30 AM

I tend to agree with most of the cynicism expressed on this subject......which is beginning to worry me.

If the source of the ABC story is a collection of "sources" in our own government, then it sounds more like someone loudly proclaiming that they're awake, when I was assuming so all along. Should I now conclude that from time to time, they're NOT awake since they've deemed it appropriate to assure me that they are now? Or are they "pinging" the opposition to see who flinches when they shouldn't, or who doesn't flinch when they should?

I don't know, but its beginning to smell as if this message just isn't addressed to me.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 11, 2007 11:32 AM

Of course, Monkei and continuum will be the very first to blame Bush for "not doing anything" if an attack comes before he leaves office. And even after he leaves office, the first attack in the next Administration will be Bush's fault as well.

Posted by Andrew X | July 11, 2007 11:42 AM

It is well advised to remember one of those 'non-events' that very few remember or are aware of that I believe had a huge impact.

About six months after the USS Cole bombing, we got a bunch of "chatter" about another US ship being attacked. Mr. Clinton, in repsponse, ordered US naval vessels in various ports all over the world to pull to sea.

Nothing happened, a week later... who cares.

Well, the historical record has shown (through intel) that Al Queda et al were rollicking with glee over this. The most powerful Navy in human history (by a long shot) basically goes scurrying out to sea with its tail between its legs because a bunch of numnutz cavemen picked up cell phones and threatened them.

It is that kind of behavior that brings on 9/11's, by making AQ et al draw all the wrong conclusions.

This is worth remembering in stories like the above, in this game of shadows.

Posted by NoDonkey | July 11, 2007 12:18 PM

How many times since 9/11 have we heard ominous talk of "increased chatter", etc., etc.

Supposedly, the death cult goat-violators (DCGVs) were supposed to stage one of their silly little pranks prior to the 2004 elections.

Every summer, we hear this stuff.

What's the big secret? Every once in awhile, some DCGV crawls our of his little hidey-hole, appears on some 10 mm film and threatens to kill Americans, westerners and pretty much anyone who isn't a DCGV, then slithers back and cuddles his disgusted goat.

So what? What's ABC News looking for, a big scoop? "DCGV Kills X Number"?

Who exactly hasn't predicted the DCGVs are going to kill more unarmed innocents?

Posted by braindead | July 11, 2007 12:25 PM

Maybe ABC and the MSM just found out that Al Qaeda means to harm us.

Posted by jr565 | July 11, 2007 1:09 PM

funny this reminds me exactly of one of the things that the left was railing Bush about when 9/11 occured. How Bush "knew" because of an action report that had a title "Al Qaeda determined to attack US". Of course it didn't say how or when and there was no operational details whatsoever, but yet Bush should have known, when clearly anyone following terrorsim and AlQaeda would know that Al Qaeda was detemrined to attack the US.

Of course, if that report were made known to the public the libs would have said Bush is just trying ot hype the threat, and it doesn't really show anything. Unless an attack occured. Then Bush woudl be either incompetent for not dealing wih the threat, or complicit in allowing the attack to take place so as to start a war somewhere.

Libs can't lose the argument becuase they argue everything at once.

Posted by jr565 | July 11, 2007 1:56 PM

monkei, I notice the let often uses the bombing of abortion clinics as exapmles of how the christian extremists are as bad as the islamic extremists, and I notice you bring up the abortion bombings in your post (is that a bit of scare mongering on your part). but seriously, when was the last time an aborition clinic was actually bombed? in the 90's? And how many were bombed anyway? I don't remember it being a lot. You might want to substitute abortion bombers with eco terrorists, who commit far more terrorist acts than those opposed to abortion, and frankly far more than militants like say Timothy McVeigh.

Posted by jr565 | July 11, 2007 2:00 PM

monkei, I notice the let often uses the bombing of abortion clinics as exapmles of how the christian extremists are as bad as the islamic extremists, and I notice you bring up the abortion bombings in your post (is that a bit of scare mongering on your part). but seriously, when was the last time an aborition clinic was actually bombed? in the 90's? And how many were bombed anyway? I don't remember it being a lot. You might want to substitute abortion bombers with eco terrorists, who commit far more terrorist acts than those opposed to abortion, and frankly far more than militants like say Timothy McVeigh.

Posted by TomB | July 11, 2007 2:21 PM

Sometimes I feel, that just to please various naysayers we should allow some of the bomb plots to suceed. Also it would spice slow summer news substantially. Just not in my backyard, or my shopping mall when I am there, please. But monkey, or NoDonkey on the other hand don't seem to really mind...

Posted by Roger Harrison | July 11, 2007 2:33 PM

"... And even after he leaves office, the first attack in the next Administration will be Bush's fault as well".
Posted by: Del Dolemonte at July 11, 2007 11:32 AM
Del: I'm not a leftie/pinko/put myheandinthesand liberal at all, but for petes sake, this is his watch. An attack would be a tragic occurrence. and the responsiblity is his. The comment "even after he leaves the first attack will be his fault as well"

Isn't that exactly the argument that many people here and on the right) have said about Clinton?
That 9/11 was his fault ?

If it's not Bush's responsibility, whose is it? Is it still Clintons?
Is nothing ever Bush's fault?
Is everything Clintons fault?

As a non-blinkered conservative, the the constant shifting of blame is really disturbing. And it costing the Republican party and this country dearly.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 11, 2007 3:01 PM

LOL, lighten up Roger. You claim not to be a
"leftie/pinko/put myheandinthesand liberal ", but the fact that my satirical comment sailed right over your head proves that you are.

Face it, if Bush's intel people had caught and rounded up all of the 9/11 perps and then trotted them out on 9/10 and revealed what they were up to, people like monkei and Continuum still would have never believed him.

By the way, it's of interest to note that bin Laden in fact wanted to do the 9/11 attacks while Clinton was still in office, but Mohammed Atta told him that he needed more time.

Posted by NoDonkey | July 11, 2007 3:18 PM

"but for petes sake, this is his watch."

What the hell does this stupid cliche mean, exactly? .

"An attack would be a tragic occurrence. and the responsiblity is his."

More idiocy. The responsibility would be the Death Cult Goat-Violators who perpetrated the act.

I've stood military watches. Soldier/Sailors don't get blamed if their post is attacked while they are "on watch", what they are responsible for is fending off the attack.

Some 40,000 people get murdered in our inner cities each year. Is that the Mayor's "watch"? How about the 50,000 people killed on our highways each year? Is that the Governor's "watch"?

Does Congress get a "watch"? You know, NancyGirl in her little burqa, and La Costra Nostra puppet Harry Reid, are they supposed to be "watching" something, or are they just potted plants? So what are we paying them for, exactly, for providing their predictable, dimwitted commentary on CNN? We have Paul Begala for that.

Is it the Democrat ideal to have one elected patriarch/whipping boy, who we can all blame when anything goes wrong? And the rest of us are just little children with no control over what happens, gazing up at the supreme leader?

The sheer level of juvenile irresponsibility exhibited by tired, inane leftwing rhetoric is just staggering.

Posted by Monkei | July 11, 2007 3:40 PM

Great Jr, substitute eco-terrorists in place of abortion bombers, the point is still the same. Happy?

pineapple ... believe Bush? why?