Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 3, 2006

Terror rumors follow al-Qaeda tapes

Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Christian Beckner on February 3, 2006

Why is the ANSER Homeland Security Institute’s well-respected weekly homeland security newsletter leading with this story, taken from a source that is outside the mainstream media?

Super Bowl Sunday Terror Chatter High (WorldNetDaily) “There is a high likelihood of a major terrorist attack [this] Sunday, say international terror analysts and intelligence sources,” and “the warning is made on the basis of several factors, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin:

  • There is increased ‘chatter’ in the terrorist world about a major new attack in the West–a sign often leading to an impending strike;
  • The date Feb. 5 has been specifically referenced in some of this chatter;
  • The date is significant to Osama bin Laden;
  • Much of the western world will be watching television that day;
  • The release of al-Qaida videotapes seems to provide clues about the dates of future attacks and, in this scenario, Feb. 5 becomes the most likely near-term terror strike date….

Typically I’m skeptical about stories such as this one. For example, the section in Farah’s story about the timing of videotapes seems weak. Given the number of al-Qaeda attacks and the number of al-Zawahiri and bin Laden tapes since 9/11, you could probably establish a weak correlation with any random sequence of tape and attack dates.

But he also mentions increases in “chatter,” which if true, would be worrisome. And I wrote earlier about Wall Street’s jumpiness on Thursday morning about the possibility of an increase in the terror threat level.

But what’s really striking is why ANSER’s Homeland Security Institute would highlight this story so prominently. The Homeland Security Institute is very close to DHS; it’s funded by DHS, and its employees work together with DHS on sensitive projects. The placement of this story at the top of the weekly newsletter creates the impression, rightly or wrongly, that people at the Homeland Security Institute know something we don’t.

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1 Comment »


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 3, 2006 @ 4:14 am

ANSER won the competitive bidding to house the only Federally Funded Research Center (FFRC) dedicated to Homeland Security. Unfortunately, it is not a line item in the DHS budget so must beg, borrow, or steal from DHS for funding for each of its projects. So far few of those have involved sensitive intelligence information, e.g. developing a model for DHS on how how to capture lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. It also now has a significant rival for the affection of DHS in the form of the Naval Post-Graduate School at Monterrey that recieves heavy DOD funding and would like to be regarded as the critical interface between research, DHS, and the interested and informed public. Anchors away.

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