On Friday, the State Department issued a broad global travel alert for U.S. citizens for the entire month of August, as well as the order to close 21 embassies across the Middle East beginning on Sunday because of an unspecified threat.
“Current information suggests that Al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” the alert posted on the State Department’s website stated.
“Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests,” the alert said. “U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”
The embassies remain closed today in 19 cities throughout the Muslim world as we approach the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed the U.S. Ambassador in Libya.
This morning on radio, Glenn couldn't help but point out the inconsistency of this new major threat with the notion given by the Obama administration over the past few years that Al Qaeda is "on the run".
"We have Al‑Qaeda so on the run. I mean, we are so winning this war that we have decided that we're just going to close up shop in our embassies all across the Middle East," Glenn said sarcastically.
"We are — we have them so on the run and what we are doing is we're running to make it look like we're running, even though they are the ones running. Even though they are the ones scared, we're the ones closing — this is so clever, they'll never see this coming," he continued.
"That's how scared we have them, that they are plotting and planning what is called the most audacious attack on us since September 11th, more chatter than there was before September 11th, and we're so — we've got it so in the bag because we have — well, first of all, nobody screws with us in the Middle East because he has changed everything for us."
"I don't think that's exactly what's going on," Pat chimed in.
"Maybe a couple of logic pitfalls there," Stu added. "You know, maybe they are on the run in that they are running to new explosions that they're planning."
Unfortunately, it does appear the administration was indeed wrong (…or lying…you decide). They now believe that Al-Qaeda terrorists are planning an attack and apparently it's going to be big and strategically significant based on the recently reported on intercepted communications.
"This must just be scare tactics," Glenn said. "That's what it must be. Because that's what they said about the last president, that anytime he would bring stuff like that, they were just trying to get his poll numbers up. Although I strangely don't think it's going to work the same for this one."
What is alarming, Glenn noted, is the confidence these terrorists showed when communicating…and their air of certainty depute the authorities lack of knowledge on the target of the attack.
"In other words, even the NSA doesn't scare them," Glenn noted. "They don't care."
Glenn went on to point out that there is good reason they likely don't care. They think they have so decimated us — or someone has — that it doesn't matter what they do. But closing all of our embassies in the region certainly sends a message around the world. And as Glenn points out, if you look at the way we handled the Benghazi attacks — or didn't handle them — it's not hard to imagine why Al Qaeda, who was behind the attack, wouldn't show fear to the United States government.
The perpetrators of that incident have still yet to be brought to justice.
Republican Rep. Peter King had the following to say about the most recent threat
"Well, quite frankly, Martha, because this threat was so specific as to how enormous it was going to be and also — as to certain dates were given but it didn't specify where it's going to be and, you know, the assumption is it's probably most likely to happen in the Middle East at or about one of the embassies, but there's no guarantee of that at all."
In other words, while the intelligence may be telling us a general timeframe around when this attack could take place, the location of the attack could be anywhere. And the blatant openness in their communication suggests a high level of confidence in whatever it is that they have planned.