US officials say terrorist attack imminent

File this under Things About Which I Am Dangerously Jaded, because when I read CBS' report revealing that US officials, citing the Canadian arrests over the weekend and "three recent domestic incidents in the United States" as evidence, believe that we are likely to be "hit again by a terrorist attack" by the end of the year, my mind turned not to contemplation of a serious security issue, but instead to the upcoming midterm elections. There's certainly been a dearth of terror warnings--when is the last time I saw that rainbow-colored alert system?--since Bush eked out a reelection in Nov. 2004, and there's not much to show for the GOP-led initiatives to protect our freedom by encroaching on our civil liberties. Pointing to foiled plots about which none of us have heard in order to bolster the claims of a possible attack by the end of this year just seems impossibly convenient.

The three domestic incidents, "all of which drew little attention at the time":

1. Muslim converts "who bonded together in prison" robbed gas stations in Torrance, CA to fund attacks on Army recruitment centers. "Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton admits they stumbled on the plot during a search."

2. Three men in Toledo, OH were busted "training to attack US forces overseas. Once again, luck played a role. When they tried to enlist someone in their mosque to help, he turned them in."

3. Two men in Atlanta, GA were arrested after "communicating by email with two of the suspects arrested in Canada over the weekend. The Atlanta men are charged with videotaping domestic targets, including the US Capitol and the World Bank."

Analysts now conclude similarities between all the cases were dramatic: All were self-financed, self-motivated, and in each case the men were seeking out others to join their cell.
In short, Osama bin Laden didn't pay for these plots, recruit for them or even know of them. They were all totally homegrown — even amateurish. But if four, including the one in Canada, have been uncovered in just 11 months, officials fear there are inevitably other plots that have not been and are maturing even now.
The next attack here, officials predict, will bear no resemblance to Sept. 11. The casualty toll will not be that high, the target probably not that big. We may not even recognize it for what it is at first, they say. But it's coming — of that they seem certain.
Huh. I thought we were "fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here," and that we were submitting to the slow but determined relinquishment of our civil rights because it was necessary to win the war on terror. But now it looks like it's "certain" that we will have more terrorist attacks here, and that thwarting them is more reliant on dumb luck than tracking phone calls and library records. Boy, I'm really starting to get disillusioned with President Bush. One day, I might even begin to suspect he's not entirely honest with us.

In all seriousness, I've never been under the misapprehension that 9/11 was a one-off. None of us should be. But I've never been willing to trade on my freedom to try (futilely) to minimize the risk, because it just doesn't work that way. But that's a whole other post.


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