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Fran Townsend dismisses new bin Laden tape as "diversion" from remembrance of 9/11 victims

Reported by Chrish - September 11, 2007 -

White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend was roundly chided for her dismissal of Osama bin Laden this past Sunday after she said he was "virtually impotent," a remark that Thomas Sanderson, an authority on terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called a "provocation" and "not helpful."

Townsend appeared on FOX News Sunday and CNN's Morning Edition 9/9/07 and said

"We know that Al Qaeda is still determined to attack, and we take it seriously. But this tape appears to be nothing more than threats. It's propaganda on their part." [...] "This is about the best he can do. This is a man on a run, from a cave, who's virtually impotent other than these tapes."

But as the AP reported,

"The consensus of the nation's top intelligence analysts is that bin Laden's terrorist network is anything but impotent.

Terrorism experts say the network is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The latest National Intelligence Estimate says al-Qaida is growing in strength, intensifying its efforts to put operatives in the United States and plotting against U.S. targets that will cause massive casualties. The U.S. is in a "heightened threat environment" and al-Qaida is the most serious threat, the analysts found."

It has also been reported that Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said Monday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security "that a comprehensive U.S. intelligence assessment issued in July warned that the gravest terrorist threat to the United States for the next three years is bin Laden and the plots to attack American targets that he and his lieutenants are hatching in their sanctuary in Pakistan ."

Steve Doocy was tasked with a short segment with Ms. Townsend this morning 9/11/07 on FOX and Friends where she ostensibly was to discuss the release today of yet another bin Laden tape. Townsend more or less dismissed it, saying the day should be spent memorializing the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Asked by Doocy about the breaking news and the disturbing messages including bin Laden's desire to release a "caravan of martyrs," Townsend said only that the government was reviewing the tape to validate its authenticity, and dismissed it saying

"This is consistent with what they've done on other anniversaries. This is a day, here in the United States, where we're remembering the victims, their families, and the heroic first responders. This is not a day to divert our attention to this tape."

Because of course, that would remind Americans that six years, 6 YEARS, after the attacks Osama bin Laden is alive and well and apparently still plotting to attack the US again, while Bush is squandering lives and billions of dollars supposedly fighting terror (building permanent bases conveniently located on or near Iraq's largest known oil reserves).

Doocy compliantly segued to the "larger war on terror," which must be a pre-programmed response when someone declines to talk about the war in Iraq. OBL is the very face of the larger WOT so there was no need to "change the subject" when Townsend dismissed the tape.

They brought up the usual fear factors - weapons of mass destruction, Islamic radicalization, and (new!) the possible use of a small boat loaded with explosives. Townsend vaguely agreed that the DHS is concerned about all those possibilities and more and takes measures to minimize those threats (like making passengers throw out factory-sealed water bottles before boarding a plane). Substituting "Al Qaeda" for Osama bin Laden, she reiterated that they continue to take these threats very seriously.

Asked by Doocy if the "increase in chatter" they discussed last time she was with the Friends was still at a disturbing level, Townsend discarded the commonly accepted term of "chatter" as "diminish(ing)" the intelligence gathered, human and signal, and said that she thinks what he heard from the NIE was that we are in a period of increased risk - that they take very seriously.

Townsend dismissed OBL at the start and was vague throughout, just reminding viewers of the vague omnipresent threat and DHS's recognition of the seriousness of said threats.

Unhappy anniversary America - you're still in grave danger.
Insincerely, your inept and corrupt Bush administration