Monday, August 21, 2006

FBI Blasted by British Security Agencies

For a government so viciously opposed to leaks (the notable exceptions being those which attempt to boost the administration's standing), one has to wonder why the FBI was allowed to disseminate information about the alleged airplane bombing plot without suffering any major consequences - on this side of the pond, at least.

Via The Observer:

Anti-terror police in Britain have made an angry request to their US counterparts asking them to stop leaking details of this month's suspected bomb plot over fears that it could jeopardise the chances of a successful prosecution and hamper the gathering of evidence.

The British security services, MI5 and MI6, are understood to be dismayed that a number of sensitive details surrounding the alleged plot - including an FBI estimate that as many as 50 people were involved - were leaked to the media.

FBI sources confirmed to The Observer that the bureau had been ordered to stop briefing at the request of the British authorities. 'The shutters have come down,' a bureau source said. 'We have been told not to discuss the case any more.'

The request for silence by the British authorities is an early sign that those involved in the investigation have concerns at the way their evidence-gathering is proceeding. It is understood that British anti-terror police wanted to prolong their observation of the suspects for as long as possible in a bid to gather sufficient evidence. There are now fears among some Scotland Yard officers that they may have acted too hastily when deciding to arrest the 24 suspects earlier this month. Although martydom videos and the components of a bomb have been recovered in the investigation, linking such evidence to all those arrested could still prove difficult.

And what has happened as a result of those FBI leaks?

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has hinted several of those arrested will not face major charges. So far there has been one further arrest while two have been released without charge.

So, while the fearosphere was a mass of raging terror hysteria including some right-wing Canadian bloggers who could not fathom that left-wingers like me chose to react in a calm and reasoned but skeptical manner wondering if the timing of the so-called foiled plot was politically motivated (gasp!), as more facts roll out that skepticism appears to have been warranted after all.

August is one of the busiest times of the year for airline traffic and, regardless of the fact that Homeland Security chief Chertoff stated that there was no known threat to American airplanes in America itself, he quickly raised the terror alert to its highest level and disrupted the travelling plans of millions of people. And, let's not forget that Karl Rove announced in January that national security would be the focus of the upcoming mid-term elections - a front the Republicans have taken a huge hit on because of their refusal to adequately fund security measures around the country.

The sinking support for the Iraq war by the American public is also of great concern for Republicans since so many of their constituents have finally woken up to the fact that winning that war is damn near impossible because it has been so horribly mismanaged by the administration, congress, and the Pentagon. Ironically though, when the flying public was forced to comply with the new measures against carrying or wearing liquids on airplanes, many were left thinking, 'I thought we were fighting them over there, so we didn't have to fight them here', as Bush has asserted.

So, not only did the leak of the alleged plot backfire in the minds of several Americans, the fact that the FBI may have actually impeded the investigation by leaking facts while drawing the ire of Scotland Yard (which you won't hear much about on CNN which is still making the case that those arrested are proven guilty already based on the evidence gathered so far - there's a fearmonger spouting those talking points on CNN as I'm writing this) will hopefully alert the American public to the political dance that has occured at their expense the past week as they were forced to surrender their toothpaste and bras.

Don't count on FBI chief Robert Mueller being chastised by the Bush administration anytime soon for his agency's part in derailing the Brits' investigation. He was only doing the job he was appointed to do: shilling for Bushco while pandering to the fearosphere who consider him a saint in the realm of homeland security. Consider it a faith-based leak with the hope of drawing more converts to the religion of fear.

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