Before I left for Amsterdam, I'd written several posts about my skepticism with respect to the London terror plot, a plot described by Michelle Malkin's blog as "imminent," and thereby warranting torture. The posts can be read here, here, and here. The British officials also spoke of the plot in near-apocalyptic terms at the time. Now we find out something a little different:
In addition to Mr. Stephenson’s remark that the attack would have been "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," Mr. Reid said that attacks were “highly likely” and predicted that the loss of life would have been on an "unprecedented scale."
Two weeks later, senior officials here characterized the remarks as unfortunate. As more information was analyzed and the British government decided that the attack was not imminent, Mr. Reid sought to calm the country by backing off from his dire predictions.
So there was no imminent threat at all. And, although, as I wrote, the plot was real, it was being monitored very closely with secret police cameras in the room where bomb materials were to be assembled at some point. The decision to shut down Britain's airports was made out of some kind of fear of another, completely unsubstantiated and alleged plot. Money quote:
British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers.
While investigators found evidence on a computer memory stick indicating that one of the men had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to cities in the United States, the suspects had neither made reservations nor purchased plane tickets, a British official said.
Hmmm. No tickets; no ready-for-use bombs; no passports for some; close surveillance ... then panic. Could it be that torture in Pakistan produced false evidence (as it almost always does) and so ended what might have been a more effective counter-terror operation? We'll never know. I just hope that the premature action against these Jihadists has not jeopardized the chances of prosecuting them. If torture was integral to their arrests, then they may have to be released. I await a retraction from the Malkin blog; and an apology from Jeff Goldstein who accused me of "dementia" for doubting the original official line. It was not dementia prompting my doubts. It was the evidence, something some on the far right seem uninterested in. If we want to win the war on Islamist terror, we need to be as reality-based as possible.
(Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP.)
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