CIA Warns of Attack

This article seems to have gone under the radar due to OBL video...
The warning coincidently was given at the CFR.

Al-Qaeda plotting to strike U.S.: CIA

Al-Qaeda is plotting fresh attacks on the United States aimed at sowing death and destruction on a massive scale, CIA director Michael Hayden warned yesterday, the same day the terrorist group's leader resurfaced in a videotape bragging about altering the course of American history and warning that the only way to end the war in Iraq is for Americans to convert to Islam.

"Our analysts assess with high confidence that al-Qaeda's central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the American homeland," Mr. Hayden told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"Al-Qaeda is focusing on targets that would produce mass casualties, dramatic destruction and significant economic aftershocks." The 25-minute message marked the first time in three years that Mr. bin Laden has been seen, dispelling rumours of his death and heightening anxiety as Americans prepare to remember the more than 2,800 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The video opens with Mr. bin Laden, speaking in Arabic, praising Allah and his law of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed." He makes no direct threat against the United States.

Although Bush administration officials said they have no evidence that al-Qaeda is planning an imminent attack, Mr. Hayden warned it's clear that al-Qaeda has regained strength and aspires to launch another deadly terrorist strike.

"I want to be as clear as I can about the threat we face," Mr. Hayden said as he justified the intelligence agency's detention and rendition of terrorist suspects.

He said the CIA would use "every inch we're given" by the U.S. government to wage the "war on terror" and hunt down militants.

"We bear responsibility for standing watch on this threat," he said. "Our nation is in a state of armed conflict with al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It's a conflict that is global in scope," he added.

The danger the United States faced, he said, was "more real than anything our citizens at home have confronted since our Civil War." For now, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, Mr. bin Laden's video seems aimed at putting Americans on edge.

"There are two solutions to stopping (the Iraq war)," the al-Qaeda leader says. "One is from our side, and it is to escalate the fighting and killing against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out." "The second solution is from your side. I invite you to embrace Islam." His appearance in the new video, which contained references to events that occurred as recently as July, underscored the inability of the Bush administration to capture or even find him.

An initial technical analysis of the videotape by the CIA "suggests that the voice is indeed that of bin Laden," one U.S. intelligence said.

"I think people are pretty confident it is his voice," said a second official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. President George W. Bush said the video shows how dangerous the world remains and how the United States must show resolve in Iraq.

"I find it interesting that on the tape, Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists," Mr. Bush said.

"If al-Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq, it's because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive attacks and develop a safe haven," Mr. Bush said as he met in Sydney with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"And the reason they want a safe haven is to launch attacks against America or any other ally. And therefore it's important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, deny al-Qaeda safe haven and support young democracies, which will be a major defeat for their ambitions." The video comes just three days after German authorities announced they had foiled a major terrorist plot to attack the U.S. air force base at Ramstein and the Frankfurt International Airport.

In the videotape, Mr. bin Laden blames American voters for the ongoing problems in Iraq. The re-election of Mr. Bush was an endorsement from Americans "to continue to murder our people" in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says.

"You made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers," Mr. bin Laden says. "You permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you ... Then you claim to be innocent. The innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th (of September), were I to claim such a thing." He then mocks the inability of U.S. Democrats, who became the majority in Congress last November, to force a change in American policy in Iraq.

Mr. bin Laden also uses the tape to thumb his nose at American power, gloating about how the U.S. has been forced to adjust its entire foreign policy because of 9/11.

"The subject of the mujahedeen has become an inseparable part of the speech of your leader and the effects and signs are not hidden. Since the 11th, many of America's policies have come under the influence of the mujahedeen."

Hayden and Chertoff need to talk to each other.

That's right, yesterday we had the Hayden, Director of CIA, relaying in an address to the Council of Foreign Relations that:
" Al-Qaeda plotting to strike U.S.", a relatively clear message of the CIA's intelligence.

Enter Chertoff, Director of DHS, stating yesterday in response to the OBL tapes:
Chertoff Responds:

Calling the tape "propaganda," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told ABC News Thursday afternoon, Assuming it is an authentic, genuine tape and it's not just a compilation, his being alive would I don't think be a surprise to anybody. I think we would have had some indication if he were not alive.

"Having a tape issued in connection with the anniversary of 9/11 is also not a big surprise," Chertoff continued. In the past, Al Qaida has issued tapes in connection with September 11th. It is a big day for them in terms of their view of having had a victory against the United States.

"So while we're analyzing the details of the tape, I don't think the existence of a tape as such is necessarily significant of an imminent attack or anything of that sort," Chertoff said.

Acknowledging that, "in one sense, they're [al Qaeda] always up to something," Chertoff said that the government does not have any credible evidence that an attack is looming.

Trying my best to wake people up who are pretending to be asleep.

Not quite the opposite:

Hayden is quoted above as saying:

"Although Bush administration officials said they have no evidence that al-Qaeda is planning an imminent attack, Mr. Hayden warned it's clear that al-Qaeda has regained strength and aspires to launch another deadly terrorist strike."

That might seem like he's saying he disagrees with the administration, but I think he's pointing out that while they have no specific evidence of an 'immanent' attack, we should all know that Al Qaeda is again capable of surprising us. The point of his address seems to be to say 'we need even more legal leeway to detain and torture people, because you all don't understand how much danger you're in." As usual.

It is ominnous, since it would be important to the authorities for both to be in place in the public mind before any actual attack: 1) AlQaeda are capable and have indicated they are trying to hit us, and 2) the government had no way to stop it happening (no specific warnings) – ie don't blame them when it happens, blame the legal constraints they want to finally wipe out.