The Paradox of Warning 2

And so Ramadan has come and gone, the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr have come and gone, and there’s been no attacks. Maybe there never were any planned, at least, none of substance.

As I said in my first post on the subject, The Paradox of Warning is that if you give your boss a warning of an event, and your boss acts on it, and as a result of those actions the event doesn’t happen, were you guilty of crying wolf?

Sometimes there’s corroborating evidence. In a big operation like this, there’s always that ten percent what don’t get the word, and so there’s a pattern of minor attacks — guys running up to the barricades carrying a flag with their shirt undone and not enough people behind them to justify a painting. Sometimes the other side will admit to their plans, usually years later. But sometimes you just get it wrong and there never was a serious intent to make a serious attack. And sometimes you are guilty of lying.

Take this latest kerfluffle. Look at the leaked “evidence” around it. The Legion of Doom holds a conference call that we are able to tap into, maybe because there’s so many participants they can’t keep track of who’s dialed in. There’s a threat that stretches across all of the Middle East and North Africa and beyond, requiring that we close our embassies there for a week. There’s a threat of attacks on pipelines and ports in Yemen. Except, of course, there’s always attacks on pipelines in Yemen and the pro-AQ tribes have never had the ability to mount a major attack on a port. Plus, I’m not aware of any pipelines that run through the embassy there.

What’s the result? I mean aside from us becoming the laughingstock of the Middle East, and aside from giving Al Qaida in Madagascar an idea for their next deception operation? Well, at home, the NSA supporters have the opportunity to claim that their programs (legal, but of questionable constitutionality) are needed to prevent these kinds of plots in the future. Funny timing on that, isn’t it?

It stinks, as they say, on ice.

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