President Bush has revealed more information about a foiled terror plot, leaving bloggers both intrigued and skeptical about his motives. Bloggers cry blackmail after former FEMA Director Michael Brown says he may release correspondence with the White House about the Hurricane Katrina response. And, the Grammys provoke listless cyber chatter.
Terror plot device: President Bush has revealed details about a thwarted plot hatched by al-Qaida to fly a hijacked airplane into Los Angeles’ US Bank Tower. Bush did not say if the NSA domestic eavesdropping program played a role in stopping the attack.
Lee, a conservative posting on Right-Thinking from the Left Coast, is heartened to hear hard facts about terror prevention on U.S. soil. “This is a good move, because now he has a tangible event he can point to as an example of what has been prevented under his watch. The problem is that he waited so long to release this information, he’s now lost a great deal of credibility with it, because it looks like a PR stunt to justify his wiretapping,” Lee theorizes.
On The Moderate Voice, political Independent Joe Gandelman says Bush’s move may be received badly. “The only problem here is: the TIMING. If these details don’t compromise or destroy U.S. security in the war against terrorism by releasing them now, why didn’t the administration release them sooner—at a time when it wasn’t under fire for warrantless spying?” Georgia10 on the lefty blog Daily Kos agrees that Bush’s timing speaks volumes about a tacit desire to make the public think the NSA’s domestic surveillance has achieved worthy goals. “You would think that if it did have any connection to domestic spying, they’d be shouting it from the rooftops. The reality is that this foiled plot was likely foiled due to existing intelligence structures, and not because of the domestic spying program.” Georgia 10 calls the president’s tactics “fear mongering.”
Drew McKissick at Conservative Outpost thinks Bush used the 2002 plot to his advantage, but in a good way. “He gets a twofer here: first for demonstrating that there’s been much success in foiling 9/11 style plots and second, making it more difficult for the wobblies over in Congress and the press to villainize the terrorist suveilance program. Nicely played.”
Bloggers discuss the thwarted terror plot here.
Letters spell disaster: Former FEMA chief Michael Brown is scheduled to testify Friday at a Senate inquiry into the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. He has indicated he may release correspondence to and from the president and others if the White House does not expressly forbid him to release the documents and provide him with legal counsel. Though Brown seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, bloggers aren’t sympathetic.
Philip Barron on Waveflux says the former Bush crony is being given the cold shoulder by the administration and is handling the predicamentsans class. * “Michael Brown is so desperate for political cover that he’s trying to blackmail the White House into shielding him from Congressional scrutiny—and he’s doing a rather clumsy job of it. … I don’t remember ever seeing such a hamhanded attempt to extort official protection,” he says.
Jeff at the liberal blog State of the Day can’t decide which side of the fence to fall on: “The first word that came to mind was ‘blackmail.’ Then I thought ‘this is the way government should be, transparent to begin with. There should be no need to ask for the King’s permission.’ Then I thought blackmail again. Then I thought ‘good!’ ”
Other bloggers think the White House isn’t playing fair. “It seems rather an abuse of executive privilege to insist that the Congress can’t review communications between the president and his chief disaster relief coordinator,” says Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo.
Satire site Tales of the Stupid evokes Dr. Evil: “According to sources privy to the matter, Brown made his demands on camera while holding his pinky to his lips and grinning maniacally.”
Here’s what folks are saying about the Katrina letters.
Look askance to the music: Bloggers seem largely nonplused by the Grammys broadcast, wondering why they tuned in or avoiding it altogether. Highlights included the first live performance by Sly Stone in years and an opening performance by the well-preserved Madonna.
ATL Malcontent wasn’t impressed. “Sly did make an appearance, but he didn’t contribute much. … He would’ve been better off remaining in hiding, as the Recording Academy, predictably, neutered the soul out of his groundbreaking music.”
A Ramble On poster sourly calls the broadcast “a lame advertisment that tries to keep the public convinced that old white guy insiders know anything about music.” Some bloggers logged on to say they didn’t tune in. James at Climbing the Sun says: “Hell, I didn’t even watch. But looking at the list of winners, I’m too totally underwhelmed by it all to even let loose a disappointed sigh.”
Since American Idol buried the Grammy Awards in the ratings, Defamer suggests that the awards show incorporate snarky judges next year.
Here’s what bloggers had to say about the Grammys.
Correction, Feb. 10, 2006: This article incorrectly credited a blog posting on Waveflux to a blogger called Zebrality. In fact, the blog was posted by Philip Barron. He was also quoted on the Zebrality blog. (Return to the corrected sentence.)