Thursday, September 8

9/11 ten-year anniversary terrorist bomb threat against New York and Washington: What did you do with the bunny, Mr Obama?

A cautionary tale about media manipulation in the Age of Obama

This evening, minutes before President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress to put forward his "American Jobs Plan," I emailed a correspondent ("X") to warn him about breaking news that had just been announced on FNC (Fox News Channel) about a "credible" but officially uncorroborated terrorist threat specific to New York City and/or Washington, DC.

This post shows my email, the correspondent's responses, and my subsequent replies and updates. Before I begin, the brevity the language in the email communications requires a little unpacking, particularly for readers outside the United States:

FNC, along with CNN and MSNBC, is one of the three '24/7' national cable news stations in the USA. The parent company of FNC is Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp, which has been in hot water because of a phone hacking scandal.

Translations of the email shorthand

> "ops" is shorthand for operation/operatives; in this case political operatives at the White House.
> "AQ Central" refers to the al Qaeda command.
> "ailes" refers to Roger Ailes, chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group.
> "Brennan" refers to John O. Brennan, chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; officially his title is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.
> "CNN gofer" refers to CNN being an unofficial "go-fer" or propaganda outlet for the Obama White House or to be more precise the U.S. Department of State -- a situation that goes back many years (check out CNN's key role in shaping U.S. news coverage of the 'color' revolutions in Eastern Europe) and is too complicated to explain here, except to note that although many American's assume CNN is 'left' leaning politically, close attention to its reporting over a period of years reveals that it is really oriented toward promoting State Dept. policies, which are oriented to mesh with European Union policies. And so in my estimation only within that parameter does CNN support Liberal political US agendas -- a situation that deepened this year to promote the Obama administration's spin on the 'Arab Spring' and U.S. involvement in the bombing of Libya. As I noted, it's complicated.

Now to the emails.

6:36:32 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Breaking - new intel credible AQ planned attack NYC or DC
Just now: FNC Jennifer Griffin report from the Pentagon. Intel not from Abbottabad. Threat "more than aspirational" but they don't have names. [*]
Pundita ["P"]

6:50:48 P.M
ailes drivel. murdoch despair. griffin tabloid rubbish.

8:03:52 P.M.
NO. WHITE HOUSE OPS!!! First, WH pulled fast one on GOP by telling them in advance that the speech would be 43 minutes longo w/o applause but speech was actually 32 minutes (Shep Smith reporting just now.) In other words, ops wanted to discourage GOP from making TV response to jobs speech so response wouldn't interfere with football game opener. so WH ops faked out GOP.

THEN: WH, Homeland Security, DOJ put out info about credible but unconfirmed threat so news aired JUST BEFORE job speech.

Then, right AFTER O's speech ended came WH statement, reported by Shep Smith from news wire and/or WH source:

"New statement from WH just now: WH official: "the president was briefed on the threat this morning and has been briefed on it throughout the day. Information is 'unconfirmed.' intel community has not yet confirmed. Shep Smith added but threat is specific, from overseas, from AQ Central, and involves a car bomb or car bombs."

2 breaking news reports on the threat - ABC news (Australia) 'Credible' threat of 9/11 attack anniversary and Fox Federal Authorities Probe Possible Terror Threat Around 9/11 Anniversary. CNN, other news orgs now piling on with their reports on the threat; story sprouting more legs than a centipede.

9:03:54 P.M.
"Awaiting NYC news conference on threat" - CNN just now
"threat quite credible -- security community became aware of threat 2 days ago. Brennan has been in touch with Obama throughout the day"

9:08:46 P.M.
CNN, Obama playing bomb threat like a fiddle
CNN analysis of Jobs Speech bumped from opening of CNN's Piers Morgan show 9-10 PM. Fox not caught napping; sticking with analyses of speech in their 9 PM leadoff.

9:06:28 P.M.
Gofer CNN making HUGE issue of bomb threat

9:10:11 P.M
Upcoming Presser from [NYC Mayor] Michael Bloomberg
"potentially a very serious threat" WH briefing security committee and other key members of House on why they're taking terrorist chatter more seriously than in the past and why they're alerting US public of risk. [presser began at 9:42]

10:53:45 P.M.
no worries. no chatter. noise.

10:54:44 P.M.
Thank you. BASTARDS. white house ops forced bloomberg, nypd to call presser w/in hour of obama speech.

Here, my all-time favorite observation about Barack Obama; it's from the comment section for an April 11, 2008 report at the ABC News (U.S.) news blog site.

The report details Obama's attempts to explain away contemptuous, patronizing remarks he made about white, low-income Pennsylvania residents while he spoke to a private fundraising gathering in San Francisco and was unaware that his remarks were being recorded.

The ABC report prompted more than 200 comments, including this gem from one Ms. Sonia Trevino:
obama reminds me of a magician i saw as a little girl. he put a bunny in a hat and then pulled out a quarter. i was 7 y.o and i was not fooled i stood up and screamed where is the bunny, where is the bunny, what did you do with the bunny.
Yes, Mr. Obama; what did you do with the bunny?

I offered the email exchanges about the terrorist threat as a cautionary tale about government manipulation of information and the policies of major news media outlets, which make it easy for governments to influence public opinion without having just cause to do so. ("Just cause," in a genuine democracy, is a very high bar, usually relating to national security issues.)

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has clearly revealed himself, since releasing hundreds of thousands of unredacted classified documents, to be a monster. He's a kind of terrorist who is less interested in honest, transparent government than in destroying the governing institutions of free societies. And yet the machinations of governments within free societies, with regard to manipulation or "shaping" of information for the public, help Assange and those who support him to rationalize the hacking of government websites.

* Around 9 PM CNN began reporting that the government did have 3 names but the names were such common Arabic ones that it couldn't use them to indentify the persons associated with the threat, which reportedly involved a car bomb or bombs.

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