Terror threat: Senator cites increased 'chatter'

Sen. Saxby Chambliss said "the chatter" intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies led the Obama administration to shutter 22 embassies and consulates and issue a global travel warning to Americans.
Associated Press
Aug 4, 2013

The weekend closure of almost two dozen U.S. diplomatic posts in the Muslim world resulted from the gravest terrorist threat seen in years, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss said "the chatter" intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies led the Obama administration to shutter 22 embassies and consulates and issue a global travel warning to Americans.

"Chatter means conversation among terrorists about the planning that's going on — very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11," Chambliss, R-Ga., told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"This is the most serious threat that I've seen in the last several years," he said.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC's "This Week" that the threat intercepted from "high-level people in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" was about a "major attack."

Yemen is home to al-Qaida's most dangerous affiliate, blamed for several notable terrorist plots on the United States. They include the foiled Christmas Day 2009 effort to bomb an airliner over Detroit and the explosives-laden parcels intercepted the following year aboard cargo flights.

Rep. Pete King, who leads the House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, said the threat included dates but not locations of possible attacks.

"The threat was specific as to how enormous it was going to be and also that certain dates were given," King, R-N.Y., said on ABC.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a House Intelligence Committee member, said the "breadth" of the closures suggests U.S. authorities are concerned about a potential repeat of last year's riots and attacks at multiple embassies, including the deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

In addition, Interpol, the French-based international policy agency, has issued a global security alert in connection with suspected al-Qaida involvement in several recent prison escapes including those in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan.

Those prison breaks add to the concerns about an attack, said Schiff, D-Calif., also noting the approaching end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"So you have a lot things coming together. ... But all of that would not be enough without having some particularly specific information," he said.

The Obama administration's decision to close the embassies and the lawmakers' general discussion about the threats come at a sensitive time as the government tries to defend recently disclosed surveillance programs that have stirred deep privacy concerns and raised the potential of the first serious retrenchment in terrorism-fighting efforts since Sept. 11.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman has scoffed at the assertion by the head of the National Security Agency that government methods used to collect telephone and email data have helped foil 54 terror plots.

Schiff said he has seen no evidence linking the latest warnings to that agency's collection of "vast amounts of domestic data."

Other lawmakers defended the administration's response and promoted the work of the NSA in unearthing the intelligence that lead to the security warnings.

"The bottom line is ... that the NSA's job is to do foreign intelligence," Ruppersburger said. "The whole purpose is to collect information to protect us."

Added King, a frequent critic of President Barack Obama: "Whether or not there was any controversy over the NSA at all, all these actions would have been taken."

On Friday the Obama administration announced the weekend closures and the State Department announced a global travel alert.

The warning urged American travelers to take extra precautions overseas, citing potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists. It noted that previous terrorist attacks have centered on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats. It suggested travelers sign up for State Department alerts and register with U.S. consulates in the countries they visit. The alert expires on Aug. 31.

The statement said that al-Qaida or its allies might target either U.S. government or private American interests.

The intelligence intercepts also prompted Britain, Germany and France to close their embassies in Yemen on Sunday and Monday. British authorities said some embassy staff in Yemen had been withdrawn "due to security concerns."

Canada also announced it was closing its embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

You're right 4shizzle.

Mystery_Cheese

Much like how the left wing Dems were hating on Bush for 24 hours a day? This is what I mean, blinded by hate. I seem to recall the Dems drawing Hitler staches on Bush, long before the Repubs did it to Obama. Both of which were completely lacking in taste.

shucks

I remember the intense hatred of Clinton by the Republicans .

And Fox News kept hating him even after he left office.

Mystery_Cheese

There's been hatred on both sides for a long time in politics. This started LONG before Clinton or the Bushes. I seem to recall something about Andrew Jackson's (?) campaign for election being especially vicious. If you can't defeat a man's ideas, then attacking everything else about him seems to be the philosophy of a lot of people in each political party.

shucks

People weren't " blinded by hate." There were legitimate reasons that Bush was hated. He "earned" it.

JudgeMeNot

Same as Clinton, he earned it.

shucks

Did Clinton start a phony war where thousands of Americans died?

Contango

Re: "Did Clinton start a phony war"

The Serbian Conflict.

He's just "lucky" that there were no American casualties; just some innocent Chinese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S...

You'll love Samantha Power. She believes in U.S. military intervention in cases of genocide.

She was in favor of Obama's "phony" Libyan War.

shucks

Contango , get over your man crush on Clinton.

Donegan

Bin Laden attacked the US because Clinton tried to kill him with a cruise misile a few times, Facts or rational thinking just is not your thing.

OSUBuckeye59

Mystery_Cheese,

Your words are pretty much spot-on with my beliefs. And I, too, wrote in Ron Paul's name when it came time to vote for a President in the last election, even though I knew my vote would be symbolic only.

I've heard it oft stated the people that SHOULD run for office are smart enough NOT to.

I've written it time and again: our federally-elected officials have zero accountability. Whereas I have no doubt we do elect some good people, unfortunately they're not the ones in positions of power like Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi, Ryan and Reid, to name a few. And again, we keep electing the same "leaders" over and over and over again.

The GOP wants to make the rest of Obama's 2nd term utterly and totally miserable, and the Democrats want to block or go around every GOP proposal. Both major party "leaders" are like two little kids screaming, "Am not!", "Are too!" at each other. Our federally elected officials don't represent "We the People" anymore. They represent the folks stuffing the big bills in their campaign chests. Yes indeed . . . we have the best politicians money can buy.

And Benghazi? I truly do not believe the GOP gives a rats rump about getting "all the facts out". My bet is this is pure politics, where the GOP simply wants to use Benghazi as leverage to prevent Hillary Clinton from running in 2016. If Hillary would call up GOP Party Leaders today and say, "Call off your attack dogs and I promise *NOT* to run in 2016", the GOP would back away like somebody walking backwards after seeing a skunk while hiking out in the woods.

But back to our federally-elected officials...we really do need some way to hold them accountable. Ala the #1 Rule of Economics, namely "Incentives Matter", we need to find a way to both incentivize good legislative behavior and severely punish bad legislative behavior. But until we can figure out a way to both incentivize and punish, we'll continue to be frustrated with the likes of our current record-setting "Do Nothing" Congress, where GOP House sponsored bills as well as Senate sponsored bills are known to be 99.99% DOA when they pass from one entity to the next, but the Legislators go through the motions anyway thinking "We The People" can be so easily manipulated into thinking real work is being done.

Enough truly is enough. We desperately need elected officials who do the right things rather than the easy things, thereby truly representing *ALL* of their constituency instead of just those with all the cash.

shucks

"And Benghazi? I truly do not believe the GOP gives a rats rump about getting "all the facts out". My bet is this is pure politics, where the GOP simply wants to use Benghazi as leverage to prevent Hillary Clinton from running in 2016."
...............Yep, I agree. The GOP knows that Hillary would win and that's why also the GOP is messing with votes and voter rights.
The Repubs are staging a big kabuki show with lots of smoke and the hate filled , simple minds are buying it.
Again, the real motive of all this Bengahzi crap is to neutralize Hillary Clinton.

JudgeMeNot

The American people will never give Billary the opportunity to fail again. Billary does have nothing to lose though, except for some weight.

shucks

"The American people will never give Billary the opportunity to fail again"
..............Nah, I don't believe that. That's your Republican Kool-Aid kickin' in.

OSUBuckeye59

4S, I don't know I can agree with your assertion of "The GOP knows that Hillary would win...". I believe they are most certainly worried she is the potentially strongest Democratic candidate and therefore are doing everything possible to keep her from running.

What neither major party seems to take as serious is if there is a really strong "other" candidate who runs . . . someone not registered in either major party . . . "We the People" might just choose the who's behind door #3. Or maybe I'm just day-dreaming again . . .

shucks

Yes, it was a bold assertion but I know one thing-- the Republicans knees are knocking at the thought of Hillary.

Mystery_Cheese

Still, Hillary is no better than Bush or Obama. She's been in the system far too long, and has become a part of it. Not to say she couldn't be a wonderful president, I just slightly doubt it due to her background.

shucks

Well,... that's your opinion.

Contango

Re: "GOP simply wants to use Benghazi as leverage to prevent Hillary Clinton from running in 2016."

Pure political clap trap. Who gives a sh*t how it will affect a has-been politico?

Benghazi is the tip o' the iceberg.

We Independents want to know what the (bleep) our govt. (CIA) is doing around the world.

According to CNN, the suspicion is that the CIA was/is running weapons to Syrian rebels.

Did Congress APPROVE getting us involved in another (bleeping) war?

It's the Endless War of the military industrial complex and it's been goin' on for 70 yrs.

STOP THE WAR!

Too bad that the Democrats don't have politicos with any guts and ethics anymore like Frank Church.

Mystery_Cheese

I agree with you OSUBuckeye, completely. Sadly, it is true that the people that should run for office, rarely ever do so, because they're smart enough to know that what it takes to make it in the world of politics today is pandering to your voters, and disagreeing with everything people from the other party say or do. It's no longer about giving the people's voice power, it's about keeping that power to themselves, and increasing it in every way possible.

Huron_1969

No doubt Clinton comes with a checkered past and would hamper her effectiveness especially in the current political climate where character assassination is a sport. I just keep hoping one of the parties comes up with a strong candidate who isn't far left nor far right on any issue. It would be a welcome change to vote for who is the very best instead of the least worse

grumpy

As long as we are "wishing" I would wouldn't necessarily mind a candidate with a VERY few strongly held winger issues as long as they were tempered with a few issues that were from the opposite "side's" preference. That would, hopefully break the wingers from both, or either, party. Most non kool aide drinkers have views from across the board, in real life. I know few Repubes who are wacco against gay rights, nor Dims who are wacco about having to have abortions after 20 weeks. But both sides are portrayed, by the media as zealots.In the real world folks are less divided. But most, if not all (national) politicians are driven by the wingers in their parties.

Contango

"the WSJ reports that the FBI 'has discovered vulnerabilities in the government's system for preventing market-moving economic reports from leaking to traders before public release.'"

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/20...

And so Pres. Obama and his merry band of incompetents are pillaring Snowden while they can't even keep their own fly zipped?

JudgeMeNot

Democrats have a hard time keeping the fly zipped. Clinton, Weiner...
Wonder if Huma will have that pen!s tattoo removed now?

The Big Dog's back

Larry craig, Gov sanford, mark foley, newt gingrich, john mcCain.

Contango

Large terror threat, embassies closed, overseas Americans warned, drone strikes and American evacuation of Yemen - and the Sock Puppet-in-Chief is "officially" telling us what???

He enjoyed parading out when bin Laden was killed, but now "Dear Leader" is MIA.

The CIA probably told him not to say anything.

Ya think that maybe that it was another anti-Mohammed video that p*ssed 'em off?

The Big Dog's back

The Benghazi thing is going nowhere. Guess again pooh.

Contango

Re: "The Benghazi thing is going nowhere."

Pres. Obama is going on "Leno" to tell us about the latest terrorist threat?

Only total brain-dead Obama-holes are still supporting this CIA puppet.

Bend over, grab your cheeks and spread your heinie wide poochie. Remember to smile.

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_ne...

shucks

Contango is getting nuttier.

Contango

"U.S. Files First Criminal Charges In Benghazi Attack: Reports"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Thought that it was a "fake scandal?"

"What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

- Secy. of State, Clinton.

WOW! I'll bet that AG Holder woulda filed some REAL heavy charges against members of al-Qaeda if 9/11 had happened on Pres. Obama's watch!!!

Pages