U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune that he “has a gut feeling” that al Qaeda is planning to attempt a major US attack this summer.
I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk,” Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board in an unusually blunt and frank assessment of America’s terror threat level.
“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” he said of al-Qaeda. “We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”
Still, Chertoff said there are not enough indications of an imminent plot to raise the current threat levels nationwide. And he indicated that his remarks were based on “a gut feeling” formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaeda statements, and intelligence he did not disclose.
There is an assessment “not of a specific threat, but of increased vulnerability,” he added.
There have been reports already that suggest intelligence warnings at a similar level to the summer before Sept. 11, 2001 and that al-Qaeda may be mobilizing.
In recent days, ABC news reported that a secret law enforcement report prepared for homeland security warns that al-Qaeda is preparing a “spectacular” summer attack. On Tuesday, ABC News also reported that “new intelligence suggests a small al-Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.”
Chertoff sternly echoed those sentiments at the Tribune.
“We’ve seen a lot more public statements from Al Qaeda,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons to speculate about that but one reason that occurs to me is that they’re feeling more comfortable and raising expectations.
“We could easily be attacked,” Chertoff added. “The intent to attack us remains as strong as it was on Sept. 10, 2001.”
And similar hints were made by unnamed officials to ABC News:
Senior U.S. intelligence officials tell ABC News new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.
The White House has convened an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday afternoon to deal with the new threat.
Top intelligence and law enforcement officials have been told to assemble in the Situation Room to report on:
–what steps can be taken to minimize or counter the threat,
–and what steps are being taken to harden security for government buildings and personnel.
“It suggests they have information that the cell or cells coming this direction want to attack a government facility,” Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News consultant, said.
But John Amato, blogging on the left, knows better, and is demanding that Chertoff be fired for issuing warnings inconvenient to the left’s political agenda.
What gives Chertoff the right to tell the country that he has a â€œgutâ€ feeling that weâ€™re going to be hit with a terrorist attack this summer? …
This is a calculated move to ratchet up the terror in this country to help Republican candidatesâ€”PERIOD. They are far behind in raising money and in all the polls. He should be fired, but of course since heâ€™s being instructed to say these things (sounds like a Cheney/Rove play) he wonâ€™t be. What a toolâ€¦
His comments are priceless, too:
Chertoff will say anything to scare the mouth-breathers into giving their last few freedoms away