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FBI points finger at the CIA:
Acknowledged by the mainstream press, the FBI has accused the CIA and has stated that the Orange Terror Alert was based on fabricated information.
This is not a matter of incompetence of the CIA: what it indicates is that Bush Administration is committed to waging a campaign of fear and intimidation directed against the American people.
When the news concerning the fabricated Terror Alert was revealed, the authorities stated that the Orange Terror Alert would not be modified.
"Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted."(ABC News, 13 Feb)
The Fabricated information has not been acknowledged by the Bush Administration. On the 14th, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge "sought to calm a jittery America, ...saying there is no need to panic over the prospect of fresh terrorist attacks":.
Preparations for a possible attack makes sense, but people do not need "to start sealing the doors or windows," Ridge told reporters at the headquarters of the new Cabinet department. There is no plan to either raise or lower the current government assessment that the level of terrorist threat is high, Ridge said.
A week after increasing the nation's terrorist alert status from yellow to "high risk" orange, President Bush (news - web sites) said the decision was a "stark reminder of the era that we're in, that we're at war and the war goes on."
Bush discussed the decision in public for the first time while unveiling new plans to unify U.S. intelligence efforts. "We're doing everything in our power to make sure the homeland is secure," the president said at the FBI (AP, 14 Feb)
The Osama Tape
The false terror attack is part of a string of fabricated stories, released after Colin Powell's address at the UN Security Council on 5 February. A few days ago, the content of the Osama audio was made public. In a bitter irony, Colin Powell was in possession of the audio tape prior to its broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV Network.
"Washington jumped at the chance to prove the connection between its two enemies. Last November it took the CIA six days to authenticate a bin Laden audiotape. This time US Secretary of State Colin Powell indicated its authenticity even before the address had been made public by the Al-Jazeera television news channel in Qatar." (The Australian, 13 February 2003)
"Secretary of State Colin Powell, during testimony on Capitol Hill, delivered the news that the tape would be played on A-Jazeera - even before the news outlet said it had such a tape. It was broadcast about three hours later. A senior White House official said that, if authentic, the new tape "is a terrorist making common cause with a brutal dictator ... it demonstrates a burgeoning alliance of terror."
Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Senate budget committee, "Once again (bin Laden) speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq.
"This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored."
Powell spoke before Al-Jazeera broadcast the tape, but told the senators he had read a transcript of the tape yesterday morning.( Toronto Star, 12 Feb)
Ironically, while Colin Powell was already making statements concerning the tape, which had not yet be broadcast, on Al Jazeera, the media had confirmed that "experts had not yet analyzed the voice to assess its authenticity" .(Investor's Business Daily February 12, 2003)." It will be at least two days before the U.S. National Security Agency confirms the voice actually is bin Laden's" (Toronto Star, op cit)
Read the ABC Report:
False Alarm? Terror Alert Partly Based on Fabricated Information, Brian Ross, Len Tepper and Jill Rackmill, 13 February 2003
The officials said that a claim made by a captured al Qaeda member that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination. The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops, sources told ABCNEWS. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and Christian or clerical centers.
"This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant.
It was only after the threat level was elevated to orange — meaning high — last week, that the informant was subjected to a polygraph test by the FBI, officials told ABCNEWS.
"This person did not pass," said Cannistraro.
According to officials, the FBI and the CIA are pointing fingers at each other. An FBI spokesperson told ABCNEWS today he was "not familiar with the scenario," but did not think it was accurate.
Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.
New Yorkers Taking Police Presence in Stride
In New York, police are out in force in the subways, at train stations and airports and at the bridge and tunnel crossings into the city with radiation detectors and gas masks. In a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 16,000 law enforcement officials trained to combat terrorism were deployed in the city. Air patrols have also returned to New York.
"We are constantly changing what we're doing so no one can predict what instruments we'll be using and where we'll be going," Bloomberg said. The mayor stressed that while people should be vigilant, they should also be aware that New York City has been on code level orange for 17 months — since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
New Yorkers, and people around the country, should not be frozen by fear and must carry on with their daily lives, the mayor said. New York Gov. George Pataki said it is important for people to be alert to anything suspicious around them, but that they should not spread rumors that could create panic.
‘Threat Is Still There’
"By no means do people believe the threat has evaporated," said Cannistraro. "The threat is still there, the question really is the timing and when this is going to happen."
It's not the first time a captured al Qaeda operative has made up a huge story and scared a lot of people.
The FBI concluded the information that led to a nationwide hunt for five men suspected of infiltrating the United States on Christmas Eve was fabricated by an informant, and the agency called off the alert sparked by the information.
Officials said this one got so far because it coincided with other intelligence, that officials still believe points to a coming attack, timed to hostilities with Iraq.
Copyright ABC News 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .