July 12, 2004

"I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

Here are three very important pieces collected
together by www.TruthOut.org: the Reuters story
corrborating the Buzzflash Alert from last night, as
well as the Isikoff story from Newsweek and the
"Background Briefing by Senior Intelligence
Officials." Please share them with all who care about
the future of this country and this planet...Remember,
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) was one of the House Managers
for the Impeachment debacle during the Clinton-Gore
administration. Therefore, with the LNS, he has NO
credibility WHATSOEVER in any way on any issue...You
should be prepared to demand that your Governors and
Mayors refues to comply with any cancellation of the
national referendum on the increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shrinking _resident. You should be prepared
to show up at your City Hall or your Governor's
mansion on Election Day, if they capitulate...Yes,
there is an Electoral Uprising coming in November
2004...And yes, the Bush cabal and the "vast reich
wing conspiracy" will try to steal the Presidency
again, and if they cannot steal it again, they will
try to deep-six the whole process with an insane
assist from Al Qaeda...IF the margin of victory is
large enough, they will not be able to steal it, and
IF they cancel it, well, then an UNcivil war will be
perilously close...Be vigilant, be vocal, be
vociferous...Either you understand the nature of this
threat to the Republic, or you will lose this
Republic...

Reuters: "I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last
week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to
attack within the United States to try to disrupt the
election.
Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust"
because it was based on old information.

Save the US Constitution, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/071204Y.shtml


U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
Reuters

Sunday 11 July 2004

Washington - A senior House Democratic lawmaker
was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea
to obtain the authority to delay the November
presidential election in case of an attack by al
Qaeda,

U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an
emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to
postpone the presidential election in case of such an
attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

"I think it's excessive based on what we know,"
said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat
on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on
CNN's "Late Edition."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last
week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to
attack within the United States to try to disrupt the
election.

Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust"
because it was based on old information.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that
the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice
Department last week to review what legal steps would
be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred on
the day before or on election day.

The department was asked to review a letter from
DeForest Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election
Assistance Commission, in which he asked Ridge to ask
Congress for the power to put off the election in the
event of an attack, Newsweek reported in its issue out
on Monday.

The commission was created in 2002 to provide
funds to states to replace punch card voting systems
and provide other assistance in conducting federal
elections.

In his letter, Soaries wrote that while New York's
Board of Elections suspended primary elections in New
York on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "the
federal government has no agency that has the
statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal
election."

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian
Rochrkasse told the magazine the agency is reviewing
the matter "to determine what steps need to be taken
to secure the election."

Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who
chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN
that the idea of legislation allowing the election to
be postponed was similar to what had already been
looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack on
Congress.

"These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that
they're going to happen," he said. "But we're
preparing for all these contingencies now."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Go to Original

Exclusive: Election Day Worries
By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek

July 19 issue

American counterterrorism officials, citing what
they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible
Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are
reviewing a proposal that could allow for the
postponement of the November presidential election in
the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt
the U.S. election was a major factor behind last
week's terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary
Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials
concede they have no intel about any specific plots.
But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in
influencing the Spanish elections - as well as
intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives - has led
analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the
elections," says one official.

As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's
department last week asked the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps
would be needed to permit the postponement of the
election were an attack to take place. Justice was
specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge
from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly
created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries
noted that, while a primary election in New York on
September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that
state's Board of Elections after the attacks that
morning, "the federal government has no agency that
has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a
federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two
years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for
Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation
from Congress empowering his agency to make such a
call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such
proposals sound, they are taking them seriously -
along with other possible contingency plans in the
event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We
are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need
to be taken to secure the election," says Brian
Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Go to Original

Background Briefing by Senior Intelligence
Officials
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Thursday 08 July 2004

Senior Intelligence Official: If I could say a few
words first. First of all, to address the question
regarding TTIC Online, TTIC Online is a website, at
the Top Secret, and now also at the Secret level. It
is an information system to make available to
different types of recipients information at different
levels of classification. What the Department of
Homeland Security is doing, with what you referred to
as the JRIES -

(Gap)

As Secretary Ridge mentioned, we know, from a
broad base of (inaudible) intelligence that al-Qaeda
remains committed to carrying out a full-on attack,
series of attacks, in the homeland. And recent and
credible information indicates that al-Qaeda is
determined to carry out these attacks to disrupt our
democratic processes.

Al-Qaeda has not been reluctant to, in fact,
articulate that intent and that threat. Osama bin
Laden and Ayman Zawahiri have issued several public
statements last fall, threatening to carry out those
attacks. And numerous al-Qaeda spokespersons have, in
fact, said that these plans are underway and are near
completion.

We are very concerned that al-Qaeda, even though
it has been a degraded organization as a result of
counterterrorism successes and efforts over the past
several years, remains a dangerous organization,
because it is flexible and adaptable, as many
international terrorist organizations are.

There are strong indications that al-Qaeda will
continue to try to revisit past targets, those that
they were able to attack, as well as those that they
were unable to attack.

In addition, there is intelligence that indicates
that they are looking at various transportations
systems, as the Secretary alluded to, and Madrid, the
attacks against the subway systems there that resulted
in hundreds of deaths and injuries.

And looking at the current terrorist threat
reporting and information that we have, we continue to
look at past plots to gain a better understanding of
the strategy and tactics that al-Qaeda may, in fact,
try to employ here in the states. In particular,
looking at some past al-Qaeda plans, as well as their
capabilities and their attacks overseas, we're
concerned about Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive
Devices -- VBIEDs, truck bombs - and similar types of
vehicle borne explosives, given al-Qaeda's long
history of successful attacks overseas. These types of
means of attack can be used to go against different
types of infrastructure targets, such as tunnels,
bridges, other types of targets that would lend
themselves to that type of targeting.

In addition, we know that al-Qaeda has carried out
successful attacks overseas in various locations, in
Asia and in Europe recently.

Also, al-Qaeda has remained very interested in
aviation attacks. We know that it is a consistent
focus of their efforts, as we saw in 9/11. But since
9/11, and despite the numerous security enhancements
that have been made, al-Qaeda continues to pursue
capabilities that can use aircraft, either as a weapon
or to target.

What we know about this most recent information
that is being directed from the senior-most levels of
the al-Qaeda organization, which includes Osama bin
Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and others, and we know that
this leadership continues to operate along the border
area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And we'll take your questions.

Question: Are you saying then, that bin Laden and
Zawahiri are now actively directing their followers?

Senior Intelligence Official: When I mentioned the
senior al-Qaeda leadership, and there's senior
al-Qaeda leadership, which include Osama bin Laden and
Ayman Zawahiri, also includes other senior operatives.
So this type of plotting, this type of operational
activity, is being done with the direction and
authorization of that senior leadership.

Question: This intelligence that you have, are
they specifically mentioning their intent to thwart
the democratic process, the election? And if so, in
what context?

Senior Intelligence Official: Al-Qaeda, for many
years, has, in fact, tried to carry out attacks here
or to design attacks that would create political,
economic and psychological damage on the United
States. Our various institutions, including the
electoral process, democratic processes here, are part
of those institutions that al-Qaeda is determined to
try to disrupt.

So what we're doing is we're looking at this
intelligence information recently in the context of
what is it that is happening, for example, this year;
and we know, with the election process here, this is
one of the reasons why I think everybody has to be -
remain vigilant.

Question: So this is actually carrying on from the
Madrid. I mean, again, I just want to kind of
follow-on on this question. Is it that you're looking
at it and there's a gut reaction, that you're assuming
that he must mean the political process, or you see
information that's specifically talking about the
successes of Madrid and wanting to replicate that
here?

Senior Intelligence Official: We are seeing, in a
number of areas, to include various websites that are
used, as far as extremists organizations are
concerned, different types of reporting, that they are
focusing on what they perceive to have been successful
attacks in Madrid, as far as the impact on the
electoral process there and the outcome of that
election.

And so the reporting and other things that we're
seeing now is with the same type of expectation and
anticipation that similar types of attacks could have,
as I think the Secretary said, the mistaken belief
that it would have an impact here on the electoral
process. But the reporting that we are seeing, the
information that we have, is tied to the different
types of democratic processes here.

Question: Sir, in any of this intelligence, is
there specific, credible intelligence about what they
want to do, in terms of how they would carry this out,
or is this basically intent only?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's an intent and
preparation to carry out major attacks that would
inflict major casualties, as well as to create
economic damage, political damage, psychological
damage to the United States. So it's the intent as
well as the preparation and plans that are underway
to, in fact, effect those attacks.

Question: When you're talking about political
conventions, right, you're talking about physical
sites that can be defended, protected. But how do you
protect polling in thousands of places across the
country? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. And
also, where do you think the threat is going to be
highest? At the convention stage of our process, or as
we get closer to the actual decision by the people?

Senior Intelligence Official: I'll just take the
second part, and then I'll turn it over to [senior
intelligence official] for the first part. As far as
the - where the threat may be highest, al-Qaeda
traditionally has tried to target venues, buildings,
whatever, based on very meticulous and careful casing
and surveillance, and a lot of pre-operational
activity. They are a meticulous and patient
organization that tries to optimize the chances for
success. And therefore, I believe that their target
selection here, as well as when they will carry out
the attack, will be based on that type of careful
preparation, the thoroughness that, in fact, has been
a hallmark of al-Qaeda preparations.

So looking out over the next - the rest of the
year, and even beyond, I think what we're doing,
responsibly, collectively, is to look at the threat
information, look at the reporting, look at those
types of events, look at those types of venues and
targets that might, in fact, lend themselves to that
type of -

Question: So are you saying when we get closer to
the actual voting? Or at the stage of the nominating
conventions? What worries you the most?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we're here
today to say that we are concerned at this point, from
this point on, and looking out over the next many
months. The al-Qaeda threat is a real one, it's a
continuing one, and I think we have to be vigilant
from this point forward.

Question: Could you take the other part of my
question, please? How do you protect the polling
stations?

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I understand
the question. And I think the answer now has to be
that this issue has not escaped us. It's a very
complex one, as you noted in your question.

We have begun a thought process and discussions
about this issue. We have to form an approach to it
that makes sense here in the United States, and that's
what we'll be doing over the course of the next days
and weeks.

It would be inappropriate for us to discuss the
details of our planning or our effort to secure the
election, but you can rest assured that we'll
certainly do our best to do that.

Question: Would you postpone voting?

Senior Intelligence Official: That's a speculative
question that I'm not prepared to answer, frankly.
There are all kinds of issues here we have to deal
with. It's premature for anyone here at the Department
to give information on this topic.

And by the way, when you're talking about securing
an event that occurs on one day, very inappropriate
for us to talk about the detail of that.

Question: Is this the result of a break in the
case or is it a result of ongoing collection of a
large gestalt of information that you've pieced
together from many sources?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's based on a very
strong body of intelligence acquired by intelligence
and law enforcement over the last two and a half
years, and on top of that strategic intelligence about
al-Qaeda's plans and intentions, additional
information that has come in, not in terms of, you
know, breaks in cases or whatever, but just because of
the continued determined efforts as far as
intelligence collection, law enforcement activities
and others to acquire the information. And as I think
the Secretary said, very credible sources of
information are providing this.

Question: But is any of this intelligence
different than it was last month when we heard this
exact same warning? Is anything different in the past
several weeks? Is there new intelligence? Is there a
new threat? Or is this exactly what we heard last
month?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think I was
mentioning that there has been a growing body of
intelligence over the past several years, and I think
over the past several months I would say we continue
to gain knowledge and understanding about what
al-Qaeda is planning to do. So every day there are
nuggets that come in to the broader intelligence
community that we take a look at and start trying to
connect those pieces. So it's a dynamic process that
allows us to have a better understanding of exactly
what we are facing as far as the al-Qaeda threat.

Question: You talked about wanting to revisit
targets, both successful and unsuccessful. That would
be Los Angeles Airport, New York City landmarks,
bridges and tunnels. Is that what you're talking
about? You're saying New York City remains a prime
target?

Senior Intelligence Official: I said that al-Qaeda
has this penchant to return to those targets; for
example, the World Trade Center, you know, the
bombings in the mid-'90s and then coming back to it. I
think what we need to do from an intelligence/law
enforcement/homeland security perspective is continue
to look at all those previous targets. You mentioned,
you know, LAX, Los Angeles Airport, New York City,
different places there. So we are not taking any of
those targets sort of off of our areas of concern. So
there is just a broad array of potential targets that
al-Qaeda could threaten.

Question: In the aftermath of Madrid there was a
statement that al-Qaeda had lost a lot of control and
command and that these were al-Qaeda inspired groups
and that one of the biggest problems facing the
intelligence community was that there was no solid
structure of command. And the way you're talking here
is I'm wondering if what you're implying is that this
new information you have leads you to the conclusion
that there is a solid structure of command and that
the guys in the Pakistan-Afghan border are back in
control again.

Senior Intelligence Official: I don't think I - I
certainly didn't mean to imply that solid structure. I
don't think I used that term at all. What I said is
that there are senior levels of the al-Qaeda
leadership that continue to oversee and direct many of
the operations as far as pointing at the different
types of targets and encouraging this type of activity
to take place and directing it and sponsoring it.

But what you're referring to now is that there is
an international constellation of different types of
Islamic extremist networks. Some of them are very
closely tied to what we refer to as the al-Qaeda
organization. Others are loosely affiliated with it.
So what we need to do from an intelligence perspective
is to understand exactly whether cells that exist
within Southeast Asia or within Africa or Europe or
other places are, in fact, part of this central
al-Qaeda organization or are they offshoots of it.

What we see is because of tremendous successes
against the terrorist target that the command and
control structure of al-Qaeda has broken down, it's
very difficult in terms of communication or whatever.
So there may be some greater autonomy being given to
some of these operatives who are responsible for
certain areas and certain sort of theaters or
responsibility.

Question: (Inaudible) that there are sleeper cells
in the United States, sleeper cells in the United
States, that people are scouting locations for, you
know, explosions and so forth, or border crossings to
effect the same end?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we have seen
from reporting that al-Qaeda, as I mentioned, does
this very careful, meticulous planning ahead of time
to carry out attacks. A lot of this type of
preparation and pre-operational surveillance and
casing is carried out by what you may be referring to
as sleeper cells: those individuals that may have been
deployed to a target area in order to carry out the
type of casing and surveillance that's necessary in
order to do the facilitation, maybe to identify a
logistics network or other types of things.

So I think, again, from an intelligence
perspective, what we're looking at is what does
al-Qaeda have in place, what are they doing, in order
to be able to realize their terrorist objectives.

Question: One question I have deals with Ridge
said that in Italy, Jordan and Great Britain that they
had not only the people but the means to carry out the
attacks. Has some of the intelligence that you've
picked up in the last few months suggested that there
are, in fact, people already in place in the U.S.?

Senior Intelligence Official: There is
intelligence that al-Qaeda has individuals dispersed
worldwide, and worldwide would include the United
States, that are - they are using in order to
facilitate the operational planning necessary to carry
out attacks successfully. So one of the things that we
have learned, and I think the reference to different
types of networks that have been wrapped up that the
Secretary's mentioning, plans in the United Kingdom to
carry out attacks with VBIEDs as far as individuals,
the materials, we know that that was done as a result
not just of plans and directions but also those
individuals who helped facilitate that type of
operation who may be in place for many years and then
become facilitators and then may also go into an
operational mode. So I think that we have to think
about what we see overseas and then apply that to our
understanding here in the States.

Thank you.

Question: Can we hear something from the FBI? Can
we hear just a comment from the FBI? There's been no
voice from the Bureau at all.

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I think one
thing that's really important is in regards to
Homeland Security one of the things that's happening
in the federal government is we're all coming together
working to address issues that arise in the country,
specifically with JTTF, the Joint Terrorism Task
Forces. We've got representatives from most, if not
all, federal law enforcement agencies, state agencies,
local agencies, and we're working together.

I think what's really important and what I see
from my position at headquarters is that when we get
into these modes of having to operate, a lot of times
you see the badges go off as far as the agency or
department that the people are working for. I think
that's what's really important. And I think what we
have now is law enforcement sees a real mission in
that we've got to safeguard the country and we're
really working together to do it. And I think one of
the keys is that it has been alluded to by Secretary
Ridge and [senior intelligence official], is that
we're working together as far as intelligence. There's
a lot of intelligence sharing. There are constant
meetings back here in D.C. as well as in cities and
states around the country, and we're working together
collectively and that's what really important. And we
really think that's the way we're going to succeed and
we do have a huge mission ahead of us.

Senior Intelligence Official: Thank you very much.
Thank you.

-------




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Posted by richard at July 12, 2004 01:20 PM