It appears that the Associated Press is fear-mongering about recently heightened terror threats in Europe. They have turned one vague State Department warning into multiple headline stories, making it appear as though a terror threat is imminent. But the original report provides very flimsy information about a nonspecific threat apparently obtained from, "a Pakistani intelligence official said (that) eight Germans and two British brothers were at the heart of an al-Qaida-linked terror plot against European cities, but the plan was still in its early stages."
The AP originally reported on the State Department warning yesterday:
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. 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.
The language used in this first "breakout" story is not news at all. What did we learn? Current information suggests that terror groups continue to plan, therefore there's a potential for a terrorist attack to public transportation because that has been what they attacked in the past. The State Department warning follows an allegedly new audio tape by Osama bin Laden. How long are they going to try to keep this bogeyman alive? It stands to reason that if bin Laden is in fact alive, and his only form of communication is a recorded audio tape, then he hardly possesses the technical capability to coordinate anything.
Regardless, the Associated Press, along with the US State Department, is keeping up the drumbeat. This morning, three more warning AP stories appeared using the same flimsy data. The first article says Japan has issued the same Europe travel warning to its citizens:
The Foreign Ministry in Tokyo urged Japanese citizens to be cautious when using public transport or visiting popular tourist sites – issuing another blow to Europe's tourism industry, which is just starting to recover from the global financial crisis
The next article quotes officials saying that the recent "evidence" shows no threat to the United States, but:
According to an intelligence bulletin obtained Monday by The Associated Press, the FBI and Homeland Security say they do believe that the al-Qaida terrorist network wants to attack the United States. And they warn law enforcement authorities to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, as it's more difficult to detect terror plots carried out by individuals or small groups.
And finally, probably the most telling article quotes from former DHS chief Michael "buy my naked body scanners" Chertoff:
Chertoff was interviewed in the wake of the Obama administration's decision to release a travel alert Sunday in response to reports of a possible terrorist threat against Britain, France and Germany. He advises travelers to consider 'where would you take shelter if something happened.' And Chertoff also says: 'Don't walk around with the American flag on your back.'It's worth noting that Chertoff admits Americans are the target and should now be bashful about appearing "American." The barrage of headlines of increased "threat" level to "public transport" comes only a week after Janet Napolitano announced trying to force full-body scanners into foreign countries. Conveniently, the Chertoff Group has a large financial stake in naked-body scanners that are now being proposed for all public transportation hubs, not just airports. Like any good businessman, Chertoff, with the help of Associated Press releases, is stoking the false demand for his product.