Monday, January 22, 2007
Mimicking the hijackers who executed the Sept. 11 attacks, insurgents reportedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States to orchestrate a new attack on American soil.
Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, recently testified that documents captured by coalition forces during a raid of a safe house believed to house Iraqi members of al Qaeda six months ago "revealed [AQI] was planning terrorist operations in the U.S."At the time, Maples offered little additional insight into the possible terror plot. ABC News, however, has learned new details of what remains a classified incident that has been dealt with at the highest levels of government.
Sources tell ABC News that the plot may have involved moving between 10 and 20 suspects believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq into the United States with student visas — the same method used by the 19 al Qaeda terrorists who struck American targets on Sept. 11.
The plot was discovered six months ago, roughly the same time that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by coalition forces. Sources tell ABC News that the suspects involved in the effort to launch the U.S. attack were closely associated with Zarqawi.
The plan also came only months after Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2, had requested that Zarqawi attempt an attack inside the United States.
"This appears to be the first hard evidence al Qaeda in Iraq was trying to attack us here at home," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, former chief counterterrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council.
The plan was uncovered in its early stages, and sources say there is no indication that the suspects made it into the United States. Officials also emphasize that there is no evidence of an imminent attack.
Gee, it's odd this story got leaked right before the State of the Union address when the preznut is going to argue that if we don't "complete the mission" in Iraq, the terrorists will follow us home. It's even odder that the administration didn't crow about this "terrorist threat" six months back when they killed Zarqawi and first found out about it. I guess they wanted to hold onto it like an ace in the hole and use it when they really need it - like now, when only 26% of the country approve of the preznut's handling of the Iraq war and 59% are prepared for a pull-out of troops this year.
The funny thing is, BEFORE George W. Bush and Dick Cheney trumped up reasons to invade Iraq and take out Saddam, Iraq was NOT threatening to export terrorism to the United States. And now, four years into the war, they are.
Heckuva job, Bushie.
How's about some premature speculation on the 08 presidential race? There's a lot of talk about Hil or Obama as a foregone conclusion, but people saw Dean as inevitable last time. It was rough for us to end up fielding a truly awful candidate, but in the end, we certainly managed.
Hil's got an awful lot of money to play with this time round.
Obama is not a foregone conclusion in my book, Nyc. He has yet to be tested. Most people aren't sure what he stands for (other than for himself, of course.) I have a feeling he's one of these triangulating DLCers who's going to run against the "liberals" in the party on the one hand, and the "same old Washington politicans" on the other. I don't trust him , I don't much like him (he's usually more critical of his fellow Dems than he is of Repubs and seems very comfortable in the FOX Dem role that Holy Joe Lieberman relishes), and I hope he doesn't win the nomination.
I dislike HRC even more than Obama, if that's possible. She's all ego and calculation - Lady Macbeth with an actual shot to run the kingdom. Plus, I'm sick of the Clintons ALMOST as much as I'm sick of the Bushes. I hope she doesn't win either.
Bill Richardson just got in the race, but there are rumors around that's he's got a Clintonesque "hands" problem. Plus he's Hispanic, fat and lied about a minor league baseball career. Hard to win the general with that resume.
Biden is slimy and owned by the credit card companies.
Don't have much to say about Chris Dodd other than he's too close to Lieberman.
Tom Vilsak has as much chance of getting elected as I do - which is to say less than none.
And John Kerry - ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...
I could see myself supporting Al Gore, Wes Clark, or John Edwards.
If HRC tanks, Gore may get in the race. If she doesn't, I bet he won't. He can raise money fast and the Internets will rally to him for the most part, so he can get in leate. My feeling is that he won't run, but you never know.
I have a feeling Clark will not get in, as much of his financial backing came from Clintonistas.
So that leaves Edwards. I like Edwards, but I agree w/ Pat Buchanan that Edwards needs to expand his "poverty" campaign theme to "globalization/trade." Class warfare can work this time around (it did in '06 too), but Edwards has to expand it to the poor/working class/middle class vs. the Super Rich Repubs.
That's my prognosis for now. What do you think?