The U.S. State Department issued a global alert about the terrorist threat allegedly posed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The USA announced the closure of its missions in the Middle East and Africa, and their example was followed by France, Britain, and Germany. However, this was only an attempt to justify the activities of the National Security Agency.
Last Saturday, right after alerting of the terror threat civilians and BOLO complex ("be on the lookout") that includes law enforcement and federal officials, President Barack Obama went to play golf, and then celebrated his birthday at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Is it too frivolous behavior when it comes to a possible al-Qaeda attack similar to the one on September 11th either within the continental United States or any U.S. embassies overseas?
In contrast to Obama, other officials preferred to escalate the situation. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said Sunday that the threat was "more specific" than other recent threats and was aimed against Western countries in general. The State Department closed its embassies and consulates in 19 countries in the Middle East and Africa until August 10th, including Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and Iraq. The U.S. Department of State explained that the decision to close the embassies was based on tracking the alleged operations of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and especially in Yemen. However, the State Department did not provide any specific information on the targets that could be pursued by al-Qaeda. According to U.S. media reports, these could be Embassies, airlines and public transportation systems.
They also strongly emphasized that the information was intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) notorious for the recent scandal with total surveillance. The New York Times (a mouthpiece of the Democrats) hinted that the information was obtained by the infamous surveillance program over on the Internet, referred to in the revelations of Edward Snowden. The newspaper did not mention whether it was obtained through the interception of electronic communications, eavesdropping on phone calls, Skype or something else. Another newspaper, The Wall Street Journal (a Republican mouthpiece), knows exactly that the NSA intercepted a chat between the leaders of al-Qaeda, its units in Yemen (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP), Libya (Ansar al -Shariah) and other Islamist groups.
A Republican senator from Texas Michael McCaul said that the call of the administration to close embassies was a very clever move, especially in light of the Benghazi events. A Democratic congressman from Maryland Dutch Rappersburg said that it was good news that the U.S. intelligence did not let the country down. The Wall Street Journal quoted him saying that this was what the NSA did, as the sole purpose of the agency is to receive intelligence information to protect the Americans from attacks. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Catherine stated that the NSA program (PRISMA) proved its worth once again.
The U.S. lawmakers in a rare unanimity approved the emergency safety measures adopted by the U.S. State Department and justified the admissibility of surveillance on the Internet and wiretapping. This is not surprising, because the NSA does not have to break and decipher anything as the data is taken directly from the largest Internet companies based in the United States and, of course, subject to local laws developed by the same Republicans and Democrats.
However, there are other points of view. "If this is such a serious threat, why did the President go to play golf, why did he not address the American people? Maybe they are just trying to make mountains out of molehills to distract the media attention from Benghazi, IRS, and NSA spyware? "a police official and former intelligence officer Michael Snopes told the Examiner. According to the American political scientist Mike Baker, many military veterans and U.S. law enforcement agencies believe that the terrorist alert announced this weekend is ungrounded. "The problem is that Obama cannot decide whether Al-Qaeda is on the run or the al-Qaeda is a threat to the American people," said Baker. It seems, however, that in this instance it was an operation for domestic consumption designed to rehabilitate the "Big Brother."