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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Plots Thicken...

Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of the British intelligence agency MI5, says her agency is tracking plans for roughly 30 terrorist attacks originating from Britain, including a plan to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, and other plans involving chemical and nuclear weapons.

Does anyone have any doubt that if this were reported a week ago, the Republicans would have been accused of fear-mongering?

posted by Brian at 11:52 AM


  • Not necessarily. See, we believe MI5, as they tend to base their announcements on things happening in reality. At least, more often.

    Of course, that being said, "tracking plans" might not be in the least bit dangerous -- it's the capability of the planners that makes things relevant.

    By Anonymous Jeff Porten, at 7:32 PM, November 11, 2006  

  • That would be a clever logical maneuver, if not for the fact that it's been done so many times. See, here's the thing:

    If MI5 believes someone wants to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, you're saying we should believe them, because they're "reality based." But then what happens? They share that information with DHS/FBI/CIA and those agencies start to take action (raising the terror alert level, for example). At that point, you're implying that we don't believe them, because Bush & Co. are just a bunch of fear-mongerers. The thing is this, though: there's either a threat or there's not. So we either listen to both agencies or neither one, unless you're suggesting that MI5 should provide the NYSE with protection now...

    Meanwhile, it's all kind of besides the point. My off-hand comment wasn't about whether or not the threats were real, but about how the MI5 would have been received it it had spoken before the American election. I'm convinced many folks would have seen it as something that Bush put Blair up to doing, in order to swing the election the Republicans' way.

    Do you disagree (despite the pointless, theoretical nature of the argument?)

    By Blogger Brian, at 2:06 AM, November 12, 2006  

  • Re your hypothetical point, you're presenting me with a Catch-22. DHS doesn't bother to source the information they give us, so yes, I have to say that I wouldn't immediately trust an announcement they made, even if it came from sources I would trust. (BTW, this is not to say I categorically think DHS is a political mouthpiece established solely to serve Republican goals. Only that they've done so frequently enough that I take them with a large helping of salt.)

    Yes, many people would have thought exactly what you propose -- much as most of us believe (and you don't?) that the timing of the Saddam verdict was similarly suspect. That being said, I think it's *less* credible in the case of your hypothetical, since I doubt MI5 would make a terror alert on those principles -- people would believe otherwise, though, because they're largely credulous. But perhaps I'm being too generous to MI5.

    By Anonymous Jeff Porten, at 4:50 PM, November 15, 2006  

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