...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, May 28, 2004
      ( 9:38 AM )
Our Administration: Keystone Kops

What is going on with the people in charge? Of course, not that they should be in charge in the first place. But they're not even making a pretense of even adequately (much less efficientyl) running the government. After Ashcroft's big splash the other day with his Really Scary Terrorist Press Conference, we now hear that the Head of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, now says that all the info offered by Ashcroft was old news and there isn't anything new that should have caused such an alert.

Oh, and besides, that's not Ashcroft's job anyway.

With FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III by his side, Ashcroft said at a news conference two days ago that "credible intelligence, from multiple sources, indicates that al Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months. . . . This disturbing intelligence indicates al Qaeda's specific intention is to hit the U.S. hard." He added that the information has been "corroborated on a variety of levels."

Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Bush administration rules, only the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can publicly issue threat warnings, and they must be approved in a complex interagency process involving the White House. Administration officials sympathetic to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said he was not informed Ashcroft was going to characterize the threat in that way -- an assertion that Justice officials deny.


"Dissemination by our government of sensitive terrorism warnings must be closely coordinated across our intelligence and law enforcement communities," Cox said. "In the Homeland Security Act, DHS was assigned the central coordinating role in this process. The absence of Secretary Ridge from yesterday's news conference held by the attorney general and the FBI director, and the conflicting public messages their separate public appearances delivered to the nation, suggests that the broad and close interagency consultation we expect, and which the law requires, did not take place in this case.

"The American public, state and local law enforcement, governors and mayors, and private sector officials with responsibility for critical infrastructure all deserve crystal clarity when it comes to terrorism threat advisories," Cox said.

So, depending on who you talk to in our government, we're either on the brink of destruction or things are going just dandy.

Either way, it works for George Bush. Whether it's imminent doom or sunny day, the White House would like to encourage you to Keep Shopping!

| -- permanent link