Sunday, October 22, 2006

OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF NINNIES: Media and authorities worse than icky dolt who triggered NFL dirty bomb hoax

"Out of an abundance of caution . . . " was the key slogan distributed by the media. And as a result it was once again time to laugh at our protectors in the war on terror. Laugh loud -- because if you don't -- you'll surely have to cry.

Out of an abundance of caution, Homeland Security was releasing "news" of the alleged dirty bomb plot against NFL stadiums.

But with GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow T-shirt on, DD thinks readers of this blog will agree that upon reading the on-line musings of icky Jake J. Brahm, there should have been no alert, no matter how feeble or furnished with caveats.

Somewhere within the apparatus of the FBI and Homeland Security, someone had Brahm's identity and would have been aware of his idiotic blogs. And they would have argued it's going to look really bad if the newsmedia runs away with this.

Out of an abundance of caution, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke and all his controllers should be dismissed. They're one indication that the system is broken. An alarm bell that rings all the time is two things: Something making a noise everyone ignores and a machine that always malfunctions. It shouldn't have tripped on someone like Jake J. Brahm.

Because of an abundance of caution, critical thinking is absent from the building. Kicked out and you're a troublemaker if you mention it.

The newsmedia may eventually get around to discussing its roles as facilitator and amplifier -- CNN was a major culprit. But this discussion will occur within the trade publications, pubs no one reads except J-profs and some editors. So when the next Jake J. Brahm shows up . . .

Excerpts from the news prior to the naming of Jake J. Brahm:

WASHINGTON — A Website is claiming that seven NFL football stadiums will be hit with radiological dirty bombs this weekend, but the government on Wednesday expressed doubts about the threat.

The warning, posted Oct. 12, was part of an ongoing Internet conversation titled "New Attack on America Be Afraid." It mentioned NFL stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland, where games are scheduled for this weekend.

The Homeland Security Department alerted authorities and stadium owners in those cities, as well as the NFL, of the Web message but said the threat was being viewed "with strong skepticism.'' Officials at the NCAA, which oversees college athletics, said they too had been notified.

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said there was no intelligence that indicated such an attack was imminent, and he said the alert was "out of an abundance of caution.''

As if an "ongoing Internet conversation" would berald an attack: The Star.

The timing of the alert however, less than three weeks before the mid-term elections, will be met with a lot of skepticism, especially by Bush Administration critics.

Just a few minutes ago on CNN, Paul Begala, the former Clinton White House aide who’s a political analyst for the cable news channel said, “It is interesting these things always seem to spike right before an election.. A lot of people are going to be deeply skeptical.”

I asked Knocke about the timing of the DHS alert given the level of cynicism that’s out there as reflected by Begala's comment. In recent years, there've been allegations that the Bush administration has used threat information for political purposes and those suspicions obviously are very strong.

A journalism blog at the Chicago Tribune. Wow! Working out the political angles!

Report: Dirty bomb threats at NFL stadiums

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 -- Seven U.S. stadiums scheduled to have NFL games this weekend have been threatened with radiological "dirty bomb" attacks, CNN reported.

The cable news outlet said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has told the NFL of a threat seen on a Web site that said the devices would be set off Sunday outside stadiums in Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, New York, Oakland and Seattle.

Homeland Security officials told CNN there is no credible intelligence to support the threats and said people should go about their business this weekend. They said they informed the NFL and state and local officials out of an abundance of caution.


FLOWERY BRANCH — The Georgia Dome was among seven NFL stadiums that a Web site claimed would be hit with radiological dirty bombs this weekend.

The government didn’t put much stock in the threat, which was posted last week as part of an ongoing Internet conversation titled “New Attack on America Be Afraid.”

Still, it prompted both the Falcons and the Georgia Dome to put out statements expressing faith in their security measures.

“We are aware of the recent reports, and the Department of Homeland Security has been in communication with the league office,” Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said. “All NFL stadiums, including the Georgia Dome, are very well protected through comprehensive security procedures

The Rome News Tribune

"Veteran CBS newsman Bob Orr, whose beat is transportation and homeland security, has criticized broadcast coverage of a warning made on a website that seven 'dirty bombs' -- conventional bombs with nuclear material inside designed to contaminate an area -- would be detonated outside seven football stadiums this weekend. Despite official assurances to the NFL from intelligence analysts that the threat was 'non-credible,' the matter was leaked to CNN, where, said Orr, 'it created quite a sensation.' Given the manner in which the cable news network covered the matter, wrote Orr on the CBS blog Public Eye, viewers might have 'thought al Qaeda was massing at goal posts from the Meadowlands to the Oakland Coliseum ready to storm the fields and strike a blow at another sacred American institution.' Other media outlets followed with similar reports. The story, Orr wrote, proved to be irresistible. 'It the kind of sexy elements that get news directors to crank up team coverage -- big crowds, dirty bombs, football, and a warning from the government. What it was missing was some substance and restraint from media outlets which let hype trump context.' "

Nicely put but no one
paid attention.


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