Chertoff Cites “Domestic Violence” During Election, Discounts Al-Qaeda Threat
As Richard Clarke was telling CNN that Osama Bin Laden would attempt to influence the 2008 U.S. election, either through a terrorist attack or by releasing a videotape, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the phantom terrorist group shows no signs of attacking. “I have not seen evidence that a major element of al Qaeda’s planning is our anniversaries or our elections,” Chertoff told Reuters in an interview. “Terrorist operations are undertaken when they are operationally ready. They don’t wait for something that’s an external event, and they don’t rush it.”
|“We live in an intemperate time, when a lot of people take political positions which they express not just with vigor but so often with animosity and anger, and there is always a danger that someone reading that or listening to that suddenly decides now they want to act out. That’s why we have the Secret Service,” said Chertoff.|
Chertoff also said the global economic crisis has not changed al-Qaeda’s strategy, although it has impacted state and local spending on homeland security.
The DHS secretary is more worried about political rhetoric in “an intemperate time,” saying it could fuel violence among Americans. Earlier this week, rumors surfaced indicating there would be riots in American cities if Obama was to lose the election. Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Oakland announced plans to increase the presence of police during the election, including SWAT teams put on standby.
Earlier in the week, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton said he believes Osama bin Laden would attempt to influence the election. “With so much at stake in these elections, Bin Laden will probably attempt to make his opinion count,” wrote Bratton in an article published on the opinion page of the New York Daily News. Bratton co-wrote the article with R.P. Eddy, former director of counter-terrorism at the National Security Council.
“Put simply: Bin Laden probably realizes it could become markedly more difficult to paint the United States as the ‘Great Satan’ with a new president who is admired internationally,” wrote Bratton and Eddy. “The remaining 14 days before the elections should be seen as a time of high threat, and state and local police should be on high alert.”
The deputy chief of the LAPD’s anti-terrorism bureau, Michael Downing, said the department had been “gearing up for some time” for the November elections, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Surveillance teams have been concentrated in the city’s financial district, he said. Communication with private security groups has also increased, and the department’s area commanders were briefed last week on the need to keep their officers vigilant, Downing said,” the newspaper reported on October 23.
Chertoff did not rule out the potential for domestic violence. He said “hot rhetoric” could trigger a “disturbed individual” to commit an act of violence. “We live in an intemperate time, when a lot of people take political positions which they express not just with vigor but so often with animosity and anger, and there is always a danger that someone reading that or listening to that suddenly decides now they want to act out. That’s why we have the Secret Service,” he said. In recent weeks, the campaigns of Obama and McCain have accused the other side’s supporters of inflamed comments.
According to neocon radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, if Obama is not elected “sixties radicals” will stage riots. “Welcome to the land of the Marxist-Leninists who make up Obama’s core group of friends. So the scenario here has been written. If Obama loses, it’s due to racism and voter fraud. If he wins, he has a mandate to transform our society into some kind of European socialist authoritarianism,” writes Limbaugh.
In fact, Obama receives a large degree of support from the banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, and any “sixties radical” influence is minor at best. As OpenSecrets reports, individuals from the banks and financial sector — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, and others — have donated to both candidates heavily this election season.
Limbaugh and the neocons have attempted to portray 1960s radical Bill Ayers as a decisive influence on the Obama campaign. It should be noted Ayers has received support from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education reform project that worked with Chicago’s public schools, funded by Walter Annenberg, a billionaire Republican philanthropist who served as Richard M. Nixon’s ambassador to the U.K. Walter and Leonore Annenberg have donated to a variety of political candidates, including George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Strom Thurmond, and others.