Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Ridge: Attack possibly averted recently

Normally I like to come up with my own headlines, but sometimes the headlines journalists come up with themselves are unwittingly priceless. Let the tautologies begin:

1. So the US and other allied intelligence agencies are under attack for producing flawed intelligence (or at least are bearing the brunt of the blame deflected by the White House).

2. But Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge thinks the intelligence is good, credible:

"A regular consumer of intelligence information, Ridge said he wouldn't agree with the assessment that the intelligence on Iraq was almost all wrong, as the CIA's former top weapons inspector, David Kay, has said. But Ridge wouldn't go into detail.

Instead, Ridge said he is satisfied with the access and quality of intelligence he is getting from agencies that gather it, like the CIA."


3. If US intelligence agencies are providing good intelligence, as Ridge believes, then President pro tem should take the blame for misleading the world on a wild goose chase for WMDs in Iraq.

4. Or, if US intelligence is in fact not credible, then the intelligence that--to Ridge--indicated a possible attack was erronneous. In other words, there were no attacks planned so grounding all those flights this week did not stop any terrorist attacks, only the timely passage of commercial travelers from Europe to Washington.

Back to the headline. What struck me most was the sheer vaguery of it all: we possibly averted an attack at some time in the past. Does Ridge expect that by cultivating fear with such vague assertions he can distract Americans from the less than seamless logic used by the Bush Administration to simultaneously shirk responsibility for the use of intelligence while claiming such astute application of intelligence?

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