Friday, July 09, 2004
- The New Republic quotes Pakistani intelligence officers who claim that highly placed figures in the Bush Administration have pushed for the capture of high value al Quaeda targets in late July -- a timetable that would eliminate any electoral bounce the Democrats might see from their convention. (via TPM)
- According to The New York Times the Defense Department's Freedom of Information Office now says that Bush's National Guard payroll records were inadvertently destroyed during a "project to salvage deteriorating microfilm" in 1996 or 1997. A spokesman said that he didn't know why the destruction hadn't been announced before.
- Tom Ridge has warned that al Quaeda plans a massive attack on the U.S. this year in an effort to "disrupt the democratic process."
Ridge's terror warning, like every terror warning I can remember, came at an extremely convenient point in the news cycle. That is, it came right after Kerry tabbed Edwards as his running mate. I'd really like to believe that the Department of Homeland Security is playing it straight, but when it comes down to it I just don't. I think Ridge had this non-specific threat in his pocket and was waiting for a politically advantageous time to announce it.
As far as the TNR story goes, Mathew Yglesias notes that you either have to believe the story, believe that TNR made it up, or believe that the Pakistani sources were lying. I don't think TNR made it up and I don't see any reason for Pakistani sources to lie. Supposing that the story is true, the question is: is the timing calculated for political effect? I'd like to believe that its not, but I don't.
What about the Bush/Guard story? Again, I'd like to believe that the Pentagon is playing it straight when it comes to Freedom of Information requests -- especially FOIA requests that don't have anything to do with national security. But I also remember that the Dept of Justice claimed a little while ago that it couldn't fulfill politically sensitive FOIA requests because its computers are too old (can't find a link, sorry). So I'm inclined to think that this is nothing but a politically convenient cover story.
I mention all of this stuff not to make some point about how evil the Bush crowd is but to make a point about me. In each case there's an interpretation available that reflects well -- or at any rate, doesn't reflect badly -- on the Bush Administration. But in each case I'm strongly inclined to accept a more negative interpretation.
The fact is that I just don't trust these guys even a teensy weensy little bit. One thing that worries me about this is that it's not too far from where I'm at now to the kind of cognitive space occupied by people who thought Bill Clinton murdered Vincent Foster.