No Attack, No Problem: Just Make One Up

President Obama called NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly today to thank him for "thwarting the terror plot that targeted the city's subway system, police said."

Obama expressed his "appreciation and admiration" for the NYPD's effort in stopping the attack, sources said.

Except, there was no known plot to target the city's subway system. The Feds have consistently said they have no evidence Nabijullah Zazi was planning an imminent attack, and if he was, where it was to take place, what he was targeting or when.

"Nothing in the bulletins references the current investigation," a Federal Bureau of Investigation issued spokesman said Tuesday. Investigators still don't have specific evidence indicating an imminent threat to particular targets in the alleged plot, federal officials said.

They are speculating Zazi was planning something for Sept. 11, but don't know that. Big difference. No one has a clue what Zazi was up to with his chemicals. September 11 came and went with Zazi in New York and there was no attack. And, as to thanking the NYPD, had they not blown it by alerting the Iman who notified Zazi's father he was being watched, the feds might have a lot more information than they do now. [More....]

But, it's in President Obama's interest to make Zazi out to be a big terrorist. Why? Three key provisions of the Patriot Act are up for renewal. President Obama wants them renewed. Among the provisions sought to be renewed is the one authorizing sneak and peek search warrants which allow searches of your home without the feds leaving you notice.

The report released by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts in July (available here) showed that 65% of the sneak and peek warrants issued in 2008 were issued in drug cases, not terror cases. The feds are using them in routine criminal cases where they want to search before they've finished their investigation. They just tell the judge that notifying the target of the search they were in the house will result in the target telling others who are under investigation, which in turn will interfere with their ongoing investigation. Some of these investigations go on for years.

It's not just drug cases. In 2007, they used them in a cockfighting case.

Why should we renew a Patriot Act provision that is not being used primarily in terror cases? We shouldn't. Nor should we believe those who inevitably will point to Najibullah Zazi and erroneously say the Patriot Act allowed the feds to "thwart his attack." The feds tracked Zazi using FISA warrants which exist independently of the Patriot Act .

We need The Justice Act, not a renewal of the expiring Patriot Act provisions. But, thanks to those falsely ratcheting up whatever Zazi was planning into a thwarted imminent attack on New York's transit system, we're probably going to get more of the Patriot Act and its end-runs around the Fourth Amendment.

President Obama should have thanked the NYPD (and more accurately, the FBI) for being on the alert for new terror attacks, and perhaps for nipping something in the bud that might (or might not) have ripened into an attack somewhere at some point in the future, but not for thwarting an actual attack.

Update: And check out this former NYPD terror guy in the New York Times trumping Zazi's arrest into a foiled plot by al-Qaida. Even if Zazi was up to no good and acting at the behest of a terror group, it's not known whether the group was al-Qaida or the Taliban. They aren't the same and neither are the implications for the war on terror. (More on that here.)

< 3 Gitmo Detainees Sent to Yemen, Ireland | Will "Guantanamo of the Rockies" Become a Reality? >
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  • Display: Sort:
    More of Obama channeling bush (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by pluege on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 08:08:10 AM EST
    just great. What kinda of change was that again?

    And (4.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 02:10:38 PM EST
    If you like this bit of malarky, you'll love the new improved push for war with the new poster boy of all things evil - Iran.

    And, boys and girls, we have a new and improved fiendish leader: Admandinijad.

    The mushroom cloud scenario is being dusted off as we speak.

    Can't wait for Hillary to do a Powell impression at the UN.


    I hope she doesn't do it. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 02:28:17 PM EST
    please stay on topic (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 03:31:52 PM EST
    The topic is Zazi not Iran.

    Well, Obama does have the Bush timing (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 11:23:04 AM EST
    down pretty well.

    More and more everyday (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Edger on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 03:29:39 PM EST
    he's starting to seem like a good guy to have a beer with.


    "no attack" ? (2.00 / 1) (#8)
    by diogenes on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 02:45:43 PM EST
    I guess that no one should have been arrested for planning the World Trade Center bombings until they happened either?  

    It's the eternal conflict (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 03:18:50 PM EST
    when terrorism comes into play. Do you arrest/invade to prevent, or do you let the act happen??

    No one wants the act to happen, so the question becomes, at what point do you arrest/invade?

    If you miss and the attack happens you get zapped for letting it happen.

    If you arrest/attack you get zapped for moving too quickly.

    I will take the latter. Too many people get killed with the former.


    "no evidence" (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 03:39:21 PM EST
    Computer hard drives, flight schools, (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 05:14:28 PM EST
    chinese firewalls and all that.

    Heh (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 06:41:45 PM EST
    If you want to revisit:

    (Rice:)"At the special meeting on July 5 (2001) were the FBI, Secret Service, FAA, Customs, Coast Guard, and Immigration. We told them that we thought a spectacular al Qaeda terrorist attack was coming in the near future." That had been had been George Tenet's language. "We asked that they take special measures to increase security and surveillance. Thus, the White House did ensure that domestic law enforcement including the FAA knew that the CSG believed that a major al Qaeda attack was coming, and it could be in the U.S., and did ask that special measures be taken."

    That was a month before the infamous PDB, which added no additional information. (Which Bush noted.)



    I didn't quote Rice on Clarke (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 09:10:30 PM EST
    I quoted her on the July 5th meeting which you cannot seem to come to grips with.

    i.e. Everyone was put on notice. They blew it. Deal with it and quit trying to finesse past that point.


    I see that you are (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 28, 2009 at 09:30:38 AM EST
    off topic again. Nothing was said about Clarke until you decided to use him as a way to attack Bush.. Now this is what Clarke had to say about Bush...

    (Clarke)So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.


    Much has been made of Bush's rather intemperate comment to the briefer re the PDB. I would note that since Bush already knew all that information and had acted on it (see the July 5 meeting in which all the agencies were put on notice) that he showed remarkable restraint.


    It is unfortunate (none / 0) (#1)
    by Manuel on Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 08:52:37 PM EST
    The real threat of terrorism hits home for the average citizen more than the equally real threat to our civil liberties.  The real concern about economic consequences outweighs the danger of climate change for many.  It is in our nature.  We are more tuned to inmediate threats than to long range threats.  It is probably a key survival skill.  To move forward, we need to convince the public at large that they will be better off in the short and long term.  Failing that, we face the much harder task of convincing them to make a short term sacrifice (less safety, economic dislocation) for long term gain.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 27, 2009 at 08:01:34 AM EST
    what Zazi was planning. but I don't think he was laying a lifetime supply of hydrogen peroxide.

    Give him a fair trial and all that but I'm glad he is off the street.

    Donald .... The folks trying to blow up a bomb at LAX were caught due to a tip.

    No, you brought up the PDB (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 28, 2009 at 03:21:13 PM EST
    just out of the blue to reframe the discussiom. My point was that the PBD was a rehash of over a month old information.

    But enough. This is just you being you. Have a nice day.

    If you ever (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 02:11:22 PM EST
    need to understand why I banned you from my blog, this a perfect example. All you ever wanted to do was change the subject and then make comments on your choice of the subject.

    And then get in a snit when shut down.


    If you banned Dark (none / 0) (#24)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 02:21:40 PM EST
    does that mean you're back to no visitors again?