Category Archives: terror alerts

Some Words On “The Bowling Green Massacre”

Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green Massacre” oopsie is ironic on so many levels. Let us count the ways that using this incident to justify a Muslim ban is completely wrong.

First, a recap of the incident in question: two Iraqis were arrested, indicted and convicted for a plot to send high-powered rifles (the kind available at any gun shop in the South) and money to Al Qaeda overseas. The weapons and money would have been used on Western targets overseas. The plot was uncovered by the FBI within months of the men’s arrival in the U.S. No weapons were ever sent overseas, and no terror attack occurred thanks to these two, either in the U.S. or anywhere else. The part that involves refugees is here:

Although both Alwan and Hammadi had been arrested by Iraq security forces, in 2006 they were allowed to enter the United States as refugees in April and July 2009, respectively. Asked why officials and Homeland Security had not properly vetted or reviewed the men’s records, a Homeland Security official said, “This case demonstrates specific gaps that were present in the screening process that was in place in the beginning of the administration. Once the administration became aware of these gaps, it took immediate steps to fill them. Today our vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years.”

The specific “gap” revealed by this case is that in 2009, fingerprints found on IEDs in Iraq weren’t being matched with those of refugees seeking entry into the U.S. Under George W. Bush, the IED fingerprint data base wasn’t included as part of the refugee screening process. That flaw in the vetting process was corrected by President Obama as soon as it was revealed by this case. So using this specific case to say “we need to fix the vetting process” is wrong because Obama already did that.

Even funnier is Trump’s claim that his bigoted Executive Order is “similar” to Obama’s “2011 Iraqi refugee ban.” Actually, no: Obama never banned Iraqi refugees, temporarily or otherwise. He did order refugee’s fingerprints be checked against those in the IED database. That caused some seriously big delays in the processing of applications as thousands of applications had to be reprocessed. It was not a ban, it was addressing a security issue that Trump now claims he’s addressing.

So just to review our “Bowling Green Massacre” incident:

1- The plot exploited the country’s lax gun laws;
2- The men were under FBI surveillance almost as soon as they entered the U.S.;
3- There was no plot to launch an attack inside the U.S.;
4- No weapons or money made it to Iraq because of the FBI’s undercover investigation;
5- Flaws in the refugee vetting process revealed by this case were corrected by President Obama years ago;
6- Claims that Trump isn’t doing anything that Obama didn’t already do are wrong.

Why do I know this and the president’s top advisor does not? I’m no expert, I don’t work for the government. I’m not involved in the security services. I don’t have top-level security clearance. I’m just a dang housewife in Tennessee who reads the New York Times instead of listening to Sean Hannity and watching Fox News. Is that all it takes to make someone knowledgeable about the world?

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Filed under immigration, terror alerts, terrorism

Economic Stimulation: Terror Yes, Weatherization No

Via Atrios I was directed to this story today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Critics of the $790 billion economic stimulus program are not really balking over caulking: They just don’t think pouring substantially more money into home weatherization will give a quick kick to the reeling economy.

There’s billions of additional dollars for weatherizing modest-income homes in the sweeping stimulus legislation that Congress hopes to get to President Barack Obama’s desk, perhaps as early as this weekend.

Obama wants a sevenfold jump in the number of homes weatherized each year — from about 140,000 to 1 million households.

But critics argue that much of the new money — something that will end up in the range of $2.9 billion to $6.2 billion in the stimulus measure — will be chewed up by the sheer cost of implementing the program and training people to carry it out.

Training? Implementation? Pffft. Doesn’t anyone remember this?

Ridge to join Home Depot board

[…]

Ridge is quite familiar with home-improvement projects. He was instrumental in a short-lived run on duct tape in early 2003, when he encouraged Americans to turn to the sticky substance and plastic sheeting as protection against terrorists using chemical and/or biological agents.

The move, which drew criticism from many corners, motivated many across the country to stock up — to the extent that some retailers reported widespread shortages.

Both Home Depot and rival Lowe’s Cos. (LOW:17.98, -0.55, -3.0%) were among the big beneficiaries of the buying binge. Home Depot, in fact, went so far as to set up special Homeland Security displays nears it entrances to tout sales of duct tape, plastic sheeting, batteries and bottled water, among other safe-room supplies.

Amazing. Seems fear stimulates the economy really well, and no one needs any “special training” to “implement” a home “safe room” program.

Honestly, our media is so stupid. No, scratch that: they think we are. I’m sick of hearing from “critics” who nine times out of 10 are the same people who’ve been wrong about everything else for the past eight years.

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Filed under economic stimulus, media, terror alerts

>Dry Runs All Wet?

>Last night, Keith Olbermann addressed the spate of phony terror scares we’ve been hearing about lately, the so-called “dry runs” the TSA has claimed are harbingers of a new 9/11, like, for sure.

Right.

Conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin have dutifully jumped on this fear porn, repeating tales of suspicious “ice packs” and wired cheese to an audience so addicted to fear that if they don’t get their regular fix they start sniping at President Bush for insufficient national security mentions in the SOTU.

Olbermann had Will Bunch of the blog Attytood on to spill the beans about these TSA jokes swallowed whole by CNN. (Speaking of jokes, am I the only one amused that CNN’s security analyst is a guy named Clark Kent Ervin?) Velveeta cheese packed next to a DVD charger, not substitute bomb parts. Freezer packs leaking the usual blue gel in luggage owned by an American woman in her 60’s — not, as it happens, “ice bags, wrapped or configured to mimic bomb components,” as CNN reported. As Bunch wrote, the problem is not that the TSA investigated this stuff–that’s their job, after all–but that they needlessly frightened Americans about it afterwards:

In the end, TSA inspectors did the right thing in thoroughly checking the suspicious baggage, but the aftermath raises a lot of questions. Why did TSA officials put such blatantly incorrect information into their memo and send it out across America. And more importantly, who decided to leak this memo to NBC News, knowing that it would become such a big national story.

Frankly I’m surprised the American people keep buying this bullshit. Time will come when they stop, to our detriment. Crying wolf isn’t good for anyone’s security.

The Administration isn’t stupid, they know this. I can only think that they either don’t care, or care more about keeping the Republican Party in power than protecting the country.

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Filed under fear porn, terror alerts, TSA

>Guts

>[UPDATE]:

via Flying Junior in comments, Committee on Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson wonders:

What color code in the Homeland Security Advisory System is associated with a “gut feeling?” What sectors should be on alert as a result of your “gut feeling?” What cities should be asking their law enforcement to work double shifts because of your “gut feeling?” Are the American people supposed to purchase duct tape and plastic sheeting because of your “gut feeling?”

Heh.
————————-
I have a gut feeling Michael Chertoff is full of shit.

The Homeland Security chief may have a hunch that terrorists are gonna attack this summer, but I’d like to think the people responsible for protecting us are using more than guesswork.

You know, liberals have been saying from the beginnning that Bush’s war misadventure has made America less safe, that we’ve created a whole new generation of people who hate us for what we’ve done in Iraq, that Al Qaeda is using Iraq to train terrorists, and that this whole “they’ll follow us home” argument against troop withdrawal is just stupid since, guess what folks, they have maps there and they know where America is.

So, I’ve got a gut feeling we’re going to be attacked, too. Maybe not this summer. Maybe not this year, or even this decade. But it’s silly and childish to think it’s not going to happen at all.

But I also have more than a gut feeling that the Bush Administration uses these terrorist threats to manipulate and distract the public. After all, back in 2005 Tom Ridge told us so. And when something as abstract as Michael Chertoff’s “gut feeling” takes the place of real news, I have to wonder what’s up. You gotta wonder: what else is going on now that the Administration might not want us talking about? The Iraq War? A DoJ scandal? Administration officials refusing to testify before Congress? Scooter Libby’s free bird waltz? A “family values” Republican in the D.C. madam client list?

It boggles the mind that the people who are supposed to protect us are playing fast and loose with American fears about our security. It’s unconscionable.

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Filed under Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, terror alerts