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Code Red By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 11, 2006

As I write, I can hear from my kitchen the media blare about the “plotters” arrested in London. Let's try not to forget that we have our own half-mad plotters – with names like Cheney, Hadley, Libby, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Abramsa – and that it is thanks to their peculiar madness (and blindness) that we now live in a far more dangerous world than we would be living had we faced the future with intelligence and candor following 9/11Peter Laarman, on The Huffington Post.

The day an international operation stopped terrorists from carrying out an attack that experts agree “could even have been bigger” than 9/11, the Left has responded with baseless conspiracy theories. Mr. Laarman’s comrade at The Huffington Post, Sheldon Drobny, greeted Michael Chertoff’s announcement by asking:

Is anybody in the MSM [mainstream media] going to look into the details of this news story or are they just going to parrot back to the public official releases from the U.S. and UK governments? We all know that there are hundreds of unanswered questions about 9/11 that the MSN has ignored. Who is going to protect the public from the dissemination of false government announcements that terrorize their citizens to their advantage. The only winners in the game of the politics of fear are the governments of the UK and U.S.[Punctuation, abbreviation, and paranoia his; emphasis mine.]


The details are that a cell of British-born Islamic fascists plotted to simultaneously detonate peroxide-based TATP explosive devices on more than 10 U.S.-bound international flights. Two of the suspects had traveled to Pakistan to meet with an al-Qaeda operative, who later wired them money. An intensive U.S.-UK-Pakistani investigation that began last December foiled the plan, which could have been carried out “within days.” One of the 24 “alleged” terrorists was a “Muslim charity worker”; another worked at Heathrow, and at least two left “martyrdom tapes” behind them. British Home Secretary John Reid said, “police are confident that the main players are accounted for,” but acknowledges at least five members are still on the loose from a cell that may number 50 people.


The Paranoid Left is deviled by these details: Every disclosure about yesterday’s thwarted attack renders the Left’s homeland security platform as discredited as their conspiracies.


NSA Wiretaps. When the New York Times revealed the NSA “domestic spying” program, Howard Dean responded:


Americans need a president who will keep them safe and enforce the law. We don't need a Big Brother.


Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, asked a group of “legal scholars” whether the move was impeachable.


Yesterday, we learned although Scotland Yard is getting all the praise, American wireless surveillance played a key role in stopping this terrorist catastrophe. Bill Gertz of the Washington Times (perhaps the best national security reporter alive) reveals, “U.S. officials publicly congratulated Britain for the arrest, but privately two officials suggested that electronic surveillance of terror suspects in Pakistan and Britain provided the initial clues to the plot.” Time magazine verifies, “MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group's communications.” Fox News has reported these were phone calls intercepted from American targets speaking to al-Qaeda operatives, without a “dry run” would have preceded a blood-drenched assault.


“Sneak-and-Peek.” Last December, Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democratic senator favored by his party’s left-wing base in the 2008 presidential primaries, declared from the Senate floor:


Let me make one final point about sneak and peek warrants. Don’t be fooled for a minute into believing that this power is needed to investigate terrorism or espionage. It’s not.


Sneak and peak is the radical notion the government should not notify terrorists they are being investigated, a common sense practice invaluable in preventing flight and the destruction of evidence. Despite its value, it remains a seldom-used provision. Seven months before Feingold’s whopper, Rep. Howard Coble, R-NC, denounced “alarmist rhetoric,” setting the record straight: “only 61 out of 32,000 are delayed-notice warrants.”


As it turns out, this specific technique allowed British agents to track the plotters’ every move. British official Peter Clarke told the press yesterday, “During this investigation an unprecedented level of surveillance has been undertaken…not only between agencies and police forces in the UK but also internationally.”


The Daily Kos posts, with no sense of irony, “the British are a hell of a lot more competent in wrapping potential terrorism up than we seem to be, and that the British have accomplished this via normal law enforcement techniques coupled with apparently excellent human and signals intelligence.” Meanwhile, a representative of the Legal Left told Bill O’Reilly last night Great Britain was on track to become “a police state” for denying an enemy’s forward army constitutional protections (which England does not have) during a time of war. 


Leaks. As a result of the illegal NSA wiretapping leak, Senate Democrats – who were coincidentally debating the Patriot Act at the time – filibustered, allowing Minority Leader Harry Reid to crow, “We killed the Patriot Act.”


That January, James Risen – who had printed the story over the objections of the Bush administration – told Katie Couric the criminals who had helped him undermine national security were “people who came forward in order to tell the American people the truth as they saw it, and I think they were truly American patriots.


The litany of press leaks disclosed the existence of classified “secret prisons” and that specific allies practiced “rendition” – possibly causing the terrorist strike on Jordan, one of the countries named, one week to the day after Dana Priest’s story. Risen followed one month later; additional details about how the government follows a terrorist’s money trail followed this summer – all hailed by the Left as the work of valiant “whistleblowers.” 


Now, the Financial Times reports British detectives “followed the young Muslim men’s movements in London and other parts of the UK, listened into their meetings and monitored their spending.


Perhaps it was with these activities in mind that President Bush responded to the June financial leaks by saying, “We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm.”


Both President Bush and Tony Blair emphasized the need for a responsible press yesterday. Trust the media not to tarry in disappointing them.


We’re Losing in Pakistan. The Left has insisted al-Qaeda is on the verge of reclaiming Afghanistan and take  failure in Pakistan as a fait accompli. Indeed, some write that we brought it on ourselves.


It was Pakistan that arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We now learn Pakistan cooperated in the international investigation that led to yesterday’s arrests, arresting two or three Pakistani citizens in the process. In a purportedly unrelated move, it also placed Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the “former” head of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, under a month-long house arrest shortly before he to stir up Islamist unrest. (Saeed is the group’s “former” head, because Pakistan has banned the organization and it no longer officially exists.)


The arrests, in Lahore and Karachi, were released only on condition of anonymity; Islamabad, too, has to deal with unauthorized leaks.


Racial Profiling? Although the Left insists profiling is neither justified nor helpful, yesterday’s arrests reinforce a familiar pattern. All those arrested were British-born Muslims from one of the two countries Osama bin Laden now most likely calls home. Time again: “Most of the suspects are second or third generation British citizens of Pakistani descent whose families hailed from war-torn Kashmir.” The Bank of England has frozen the assets of 19 people, all Muslims between the ages of 17 and 35.


This recalls the fact that three of the four 7/7 plotters were British-born Muslims “of Pakistani origin” (or “Asians,” as the Brits say).


On the nether side of the pond, two 20-year-old American-born Muslims from Dearborn, Michigan, were arrested in Marietta, Ohio, with a collection of cell phones – the sort that could have been used to detonate explosives like the ones involved in the London cell’s plan. They also carried thousands of dollars, detailed information about flight plans – including a passenger list – and a roadmap to Wal-Marts, where they could buy more phones. (Incredibly, bond was granted, at $200,000, for these potential terror assets.)


Still, the far-Left Mother Jones magazine does not recognize the importance of banning terror-friendly technologies from planes. On Thursday, its blog derided wristwatch profiling and banning iPods. (The blog also quotes a Washington Post reporter’s claim that Israel is allowing Hezbollah to attack, so it can pound Lebanon, adding: “Hmm, using terror attacks to justify drastic military action that also serves other strategic objectives. Rings a bell somehow.”) 


Iraq is a Distraction. The Left instantly latched onto a potential tragedy to discredit the commander-in-chief and his ongoing war. Again, the DailyKos:


Once again, the astonishingly incompetent notion of “fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here” has been shown to be nothing but ideologically-backed neoconservative bungling of the highest order. A dangerous and blood-soaked farce that has gained nothing except expanded territories in which terrorism can flourish, and has not made the nation safer.


Had the United States treated the 9/11 hijackings as George Soros advised, prosecuting them as “crimes against humanity,” the Taliban would assure that Afghanistan and Pakistan remained “territories in which terrorism can flourish.” Instead, we…fought them over there so we didn’t have to fight them over here.


And we did the same in Iraq, where Ansar al-Islam freely operated. In the process, America’s fighting forces killed al-Zarqawi. They captured universally acknowledged al-Qaeda leader Hasan Guhl, “The Gatekeeper,” as he crossed into Iraq via Iran, and nabbed numerous other Afghan-based members of al-Qaeda – not that nationality matters to Islamic terrorists. (Witness the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.) The war in Iraq has killed regional jihadists from all backgrounds, not least the “original franchise” of al-Qaeda, which the Bush War has rendered ineffective.


Islamofascism. In reporting the stymied jihad, true to form, the New York Times blamed…the United States of America. In its front page story, reporters cum editorialists Alan Cowell and Dexter Filkins assert:


This is the latest in a series of conspiracies apparently rooted in the disaffection of young, British-born Muslims, many of Pakistani descent, who cast themselves as part of a jihadist struggle against Britain, which they see as an outrider of the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Lebanon.


The next paragraph inconveniently confess:


It also mimicked a failed plot in the Philippines in 1995 financed by Osama bin Laden to blow up airplanes over the Pacific. That ended when the chemicals exploded at an apartment in Manila. (Emphasis added.)


That places similar activity six years before American involvement in Afghanistan or Iraq. (And Lebanon, sirs?)


President Bush was right in saying the United States is at war with “Islamic fascists” – a subtle but significant rhetorical pivot from the term “Islamists.” In response, Daily Kos responded:


This statement – an echoing of the transparently phony “Islamic fascism” branding used and pushed by every significant racist and hate group in America – is truly terrifying, because it demonstrates that five years into the fight against international terrorism, George Bush still has no fundamental idea about the basic nature of the issues involved. (Emphasis his.)


Actually, “every significant racist and hate group in America” is in league with the Islamic fascists, as their forebears were during WWII.  


Thursday’s London jihad proves two things: Radical Islam is a worldwide threat, even among third and fourth-generation Muslims – as previous activities demonstrated it is a threat among converts. Until Islam displaces this fundamentalist interpretation from its current position of prominence, the enemy within will never be defeated.


Secondly, the president is on the right course. The attack on 9/11 did not occur in a vacuum: it followed unpunished terrorist strikes in the World Trade Center, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Yemen – and a disgraceful exit from Somalia. In terror as in business, nothing succeeds like success. Osama has throngs of willing executioners, not because America is killing terrorists but because the Clinton administration’s limp-wristed, law-and-order approach to terrorism convinced the Muslim world fomenting anti-American jihad would be painless.


It’s clear one side has “no fundamental idea” about the issues involved when a group of Islamic theocrats determine to kill innocent civilians for the greater glory of Allah. Yesterday’s planned “murder on an unprecedented scale” demonstrates why the clueless can never be entrusted with our national security.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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