NBC News has learned that U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.I really didn't want to believe this and I feel like a charter member of the tinfoil hat club, but I had a sneaking suspicion last week that this story wasn't what they made it out to be, that there seemed to be more than a few things wrong with this story from the get-go.
A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.
In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.
For starters, if Bush supposedly first heard about the plot from Blair the previous weekend (or before?) then why did they wait several days (or longer?) to raise the "liquid alert" among airport security handlers if it was so "imminent"? Then there is also the fact that there have been several other recent stories similiar to this one that didn't get nearly the publicity. Something tells me that between now and November 7th these types of stories will be front page news instead of something buried on page 3.
One of the things that really bugged me was the way that the U.S. seemed to take lot of credit for the intelligence and police work that was conducted by the Brits and Pakistanis. It is also interesting how GOP talking points about the incident very quickly turned into a fusing of two stories-- averting a terrorist attack and the Lieberman-Lamont race and the alleged Liberal Takeover. (Heck, even Lieberman himself did so shamelessly.) So suddenly the the GOP got a rare claim of victory in the war on terror and a chance to misrepresent Democratic opposition to the war in Iraq as a retreat on the war against terrorists overall, a la Lamont. Bush even got a "terrorism bump" in the polls over the weekend-- up 10% for overall handling of war on terror and a small popularity increase overall. I can't help but see this as a pre-election PR dry run of their own.
One thing we all do know for certain that it has been (re)confirmed that the public remains very eager to trust the government to tell them the unvarnished truth when it comes to these matters, that they want to believe that the government suddenly has pure, apolitical motivations and would never "play politics" with terrorism.