Financial Institutions Mentioned In Warning Not Believed To Be At "Imminent Risk"
Meanwhile, in its lead story today, USA Today reports that the US financial institutions "identified in a recently disclosed al-Qaeda surveillance operation are not believed to be at imminent risk of attack, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday. . . . Although U.S. authorities continue to analyze information, the material does not point to an existing plan of attack, said the law enforcement officials."
Kerry Silent On Alert's Timing, But Other Democrats Express Doubts.
Sen. John Kerry, says Reuters, yesterday "ducked the question when asked whether he, as president, would he have authorized his homeland security chief to issue the same warning as Mr. Ridge," but the Washington Post reports that "other Democrats have not been shy" about taking on the Administration on this issue, with former Vermont governor "Howard Dean strongly suggesting political motives behind the announcement. . . . Jesse L. Jackson, echoing that theme, said he was suspicious of the timing of the alert, just days after the Democratic convention." In the New York Times, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman is quoted as saying, "Now that we're hearing that some of this data is two or three years old, it raises serious questions in my mind about whether or not they are manipulating the data to cause all this confusion.'" The "disparate reaction from two wings of the Democratic Party," adds the Times, "underlines the complications that face Mr. Kerry as he seeks to run a fall campaign that some Democrats say could be regularly interrupted by terror alerts." The AP, meanwhile, says "the politics of terrorism has Democrats tied in knots. Each time President fears of a possible attack, the political debate shifts from his most troublesome issue to one of his strongest while Democrats fight their impulse to question the president's motives."
Few Express Interest In New Intelligence Czar Post.
President Bush's bid to embrace the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and name a new intelligence czar is being met with groans inside the administration by those who might get the post, senior officials tell the US News Bulletin. While there is no indication whom Bush is considering for the new job, some sources in the intelligence field said that there are few takers. "It's a nightmarish role," said one top Bush advisor. Another close to the search compared it to Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge's job. "It's all hell and no glory," said the official. The search comes at a bad time for the White House, which is also looking for a new CIA director and studying replacements for likely post-election vacancies at defense, State and other cabinet posts.