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Billions, maybe trillions spent on national security and it all boils down to Michael Chertoff's gut

Reported by Chrish - July 12, 2007 -

FOX reporter Catherine Herridge and FOX Contributor Walid Phares discussed reports that Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff has announced he has a "gut feeling" that the US is under threat of another terrorist attack sometime this summer, on The Big Story yesterday 7/11/07.

Chertoff was shown saying that there is no credible evidence of a specific threat, and the best defense we have is vigilance. Gibson asked if Chertoff knows something he isn't saying? Is this summer going to be a season of terror at home? (Comment: yes it is, if you keep saying things like that.)

Herridge said that Chertoff attributed his "feeling' to an alleged regrouping of Al Qaeda on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, an increase in tapes released by Al Qaeda leadership, and the recent foiled plots in England and Glasgow. Taken all together, plus the fact (false) that spring and summer are the times Al Qaeda has hit, there is an increased threat environment.

Phares said that Chertoff has information we are not privy to, and there may be a summer campaign.

There is apparently no specific information in recently released terrorist tapes, but Herridge said her contacts said there are three "things" about the tapes: more tapes, quicker response to incidents (a week from incident to tape release), and postings on websites rumor a bin Laden tape coming, which wouldn't be expected until after a major attack on the west.

The Chicago Tribune, where Chertoff made the remarks, reported

"Calling it "a gut feeling" based on past patterns of terrorists in Europe, recent al-Qaeda statements and intelligence he did not disclose, Chertoff said of terrorists: "Summertime seems to be appealing to them. ... We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."

A blog post at the same paper had this to say:

"David Heyman, Homeland Security Program Director at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, wasn't buying it. In a statement, Heyman said:

It is being widely reported that Secretary Chertoff has a “gut feeling”—not intelligence reports—about a potential terrorist attack against the United States this summer. The historical data do not substantiate the Secretary’s comments.

It’s important that we base our threat assessments and analysis on available intelligence and other information, not guesswork or ‘gutwork’. Of the 33 or so Al Qaeda inspired or linked attacks since the 1993 First World Trade Center bombing, most (20 out of 33 or 60%) occurred in the fall or spring, not the summer (see attached chart).

It's also very odd for Chertoff who is so disciplined with language and so pronounced on 'risk' based security to comment publicly this way. While there are strategic and tactical reasons why al Qaeda may pose a greater threat in the near term, it is troubling that the government is informing the public and raising concerns (and fears) based on the Secretary’s feelings, as opposed to intelligence. Public confidence in the government and skepticism over threat warnings is already low. If there’s intelligence, the Secretary should make that clear. Guesswork or ‘gutwork’ does very little to bolster confidence of an already threat-weary public."

Chertoff has since backed off his statement, and the White House hastened to deny credible evidence of an imminent attack.

Comment: More people are talking impeachment, Iraq is being declared an utter failure, Republicans are seriously lagging raising money for next year's elections, and Michael Moore is making it mainstream to talk about taking the profits out of our healthcare system. What's a corrupt administration to do? Don't forget Chertoff's predecessor, Tom Ridge, confessed that the heightened terror alerts were often dictated by the White House, against his better judgment.

Or maybe Rick Santorum is right. (After all, he did find those WMDs.) Appearing on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, Santorum said

"Between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view,"

Is that a threat? Or a promise?