Saturday, September 10, 2011

Be afraid, be very afraid

It's Expanded Terror Threat Day, informally (yet officially) declared every year around this time. As the L.A. Times story says:
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials scrambled Friday to identify and find as many as three men who supposedly planned to travel from Afghanistan to detonate car bombs on bridges or in tunnels this weekend in New York and Washington. Officials said they obtained specific but uncorroborated intelligence this week that two or three individuals with close ties to Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan had entered the United States in a plot to disrupt events planned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Vice President Joe Biden told morning TV shows that the intelligence came from a "credible source." ...

The men -- possibly including a U.S. citizen -- were said to have crossed by land from Pakistan to Afghanistan and then to have boarded a series of flights bound for the United States, possibly connecting through Dubai International Airport. ... The warning came from a single trusted source who has given correct information in the past, said a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak to the media. Intelligence officials do not have specific names or fragments of names of any suspects, the official added.

Really? With all the terrorist watch lists, several people crossed on foot from Pakistan to Afghanistan, flew blithely out of Kabul through Dubai and thence to the U.S.? Great. Meanwhile hundreds of innocent people can't fly on a plane at all for reasons they aren't even allowed to know.


Traffic backed up at Manhattan's bridges and tunnels Friday as the New York Police Department set up vehicle checkpoints on nearby streets. Police searched parking garages and stepped up towing of illegally parked cars, and some officers wore portable monitors set to vibrate in the presence of unusual radiation. National Guard troops carrying assault rifles patrolled at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station, the city's railroad hubs, and police officers increased checks of subway riders' bags. In Washington, police and federal law enforcement increased security around government buildings and monuments. Extra air marshals will fly on domestic flights this weekend, and foreign air carriers have been asked to step up screening of passengers bound for the U.S. In addition, the Transportation Security Administration will deploy more than 600 teams of bomb-sniffing dogs and bag inspectors on train platforms and subway systems around the country.
I feel so safe I could fly. Just not on a plane.

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