In another feeble attempt at projecting the image that his administration was on top of things, Bush told reporters the following, according to a Washington Post story that doesn't clean up the quote (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35466-2004Aug2.html):

"It's serious business," Bush said. "I mean, we wouldn't be, you know, contacting authorities at the local level unless something was real."

That's what people sound like when they either don't know what they're talking about or are lying.

Later in the same story, the Post quotes an unnamed official.

"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? ... I still don't know that."

Unnamed sources are often met with a little more skepticism, understandably. But the New York Times story (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/03/politics/03intel.html?hp) does one better in quoting White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend that the surveillance data al-Qaida gathered had been "gathered in 2000 and 2001."

The comments of government officials on Monday seemed softer in tone than the warning issued the day before. On Sunday, officials were circumspect in discussing when the surveillance of the financial institutions had occurred, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge cited the quantity of intelligence from "multiple reporting streams" that he said was "alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information."

Perhaps after the election, the Bush administration -- which had never held a single meeting on counterrorism prior to Sept. 11 -- will tell us the World Trade Center is in danger.

One-time Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean appropriately called B.S. on the convenience of the administration's sky-is-falling tactics, calling it Bush's "trump card." (http://www.wrgb.com/news/regional/regional.asp?selection=article_18202)


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