Goddamn, if we weren't played again. Less than two days after Tom Ridge cried "Wolf" one more time, we now learn that all the hysteria this time was about information that was pre-9/11. The Administration claims it took that info and added it to the vague notion that al-Qaeda was "planning" an attack and thus we have the new panic, same as the old panic. And, really, and c'mon, isn't al-Qaeda always planning an attack? Isn't that what terrorists do? It's sort of like after smoking a bong, you want to hit the Shakey's buffet, but you inevitably settle for the leftover tuna casserole.
So here's the all-you-can-eat pizza: "One federal law enforcement source said his understanding from reviewing the reports was that the material predated Sept. 11 and included photos that can be obtained from brochures and some actual snapshots. There also were some interior diagrams that appear to be publicly available." Dude, they have pepperoni, Hawaiian, barbecued chicken, fuckin' cheese. Any kind of pizza you want. All. You. Can. Motherfuckin'. Eat.
Would it have fuckin' killed them to be honest with us? Ridge alluded to an honest answer when he said, in answer to a reporter, "I mean given the specificity of the information, you've got to appreciate that and consider that in light of the broader general threat to try to disrupt the democratic process, but I don't think you could conclude that it's framed in that fashion." Why couldn't they just say, "Look, we arrested this guy who had all this shit that we didn't know about. We don't wanna freak you out, 'cause it's all old shit, but we thought you oughta know." Or maybe, just maybe, they could't say anything at all.
Goddamnit, we so desperately wanna believe we're not being fucked with. Even Paul Krugman says in his column today, "This one may be based on real information." But it's almost impossible to believe them when Ridge says in his prepared remarks, "We must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the President's leadership in the war against terror. The reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan." How about just shutting up about the President's leadership on this? Because every time Bush's "leadership" is invoked, all we can think about is how often he has failed to lead.
And that empty shell of a leader was on display yesterday in his announcement that he was going to do the absolute minimum so he can say he listened to the 9/11 Commission: he'll create a National Intelligence Director, but not one with any budgetary or hiring power or any control over the CIA. But, like declaring that Iraq is now sovereign, like saying that the U.N. and NATO now have roles in Iraq, all of this is show. You may put a rolled-up sock in your pants so everyone can admire your bulge, but in the end, you've gotta drop your drawers in front of someone, and then your tiny dick will be revealed.
Still, you've got to admire Bush - he's a man who respects a good, long vacation. When asked if Congress should be called back for a special session, Bush said, "Congress has been thinking about some of these ideas. They can think about them over August and come back and act on them in September."
So while New York is placed under a minor lockdown because of a years-old threat of terrorism, the President would like Congress to go fuck itself for a month. Meanwhile, Howard Dean is treated like he's ranting on a box on a street corner. Somewhere, the ghost of Benjamin Franklin is wishing he'd just stayed in France.