Remember that rise to “orange alert” back in in the 2003 holiday season? The one that disrupted international flights? The one based on well-hyped “credible” threats and “credible sources” (Official: Credible threats pushed terror alert higher)? The one where Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the information suggested “an attack on the United States and the United States' interests — both within the United States and outside — is imminent”?
Well, it turns out that the whole thing was just a big mistake.
All that “chatter” that caused the Bush Keystone Kops to panic was actually just … a fantasy:
senior U.S. officials now tell NBC News that the key piece of information that triggered the holiday alert was a bizarre CIA analysis, which turned out to be all wrong.
CIA analysts mistakenly thought they'd discovered a mother lode of secret al-Qaida messages. They thought they had found secret messages on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic-language television news channel, hidden in the moving text at the bottom of the screen, known as the “crawl,” where news headlines are summarized.
But of course, in fact it was no such thing. And even Ridge himself now admits that it was pretty nutty. (His exact words are “Bizarre, unique, unorthodox, unprecedented.”)
You can't make this stuff up. Not sober, anyway.
PS. Why are we still on “yellow alert”? Not to mention that the whole concept is moronic.