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

JudgeMeNot

I guess al Qaida reads newspapers too. Could have sworn President Obama said al Qaida was on its way out. Is it safe to go to Krogers?

deertracker

He said "on the run".

JudgeMeNot

deerwacker please read:

Sept. 25, Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and said, “Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more.”

The next day, campaigning in Bowling Green, Ohio, Obama again said, “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” That same day at Kent State University, Obama used the same line. Obama said the same thing on Sept. 27 in Virginia Beach, Va.

Obama went back to saying the terrorist organization was on the “path to defeat” on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas, Oct. 4 in Denver and Oct. 4 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

On Oct. 18 in Manchester, N.H., Obama returned to the “path to defeat” line, which he repeated Oct. 19 in Fairfax, Va.

Obama said Oct. 23 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., “al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.” He repeated the same line at a campaign event in Delray Beach, Fla. that day.

That day in Dayton, Ohio, Obama said, “That’s why, working with Joe Biden and our national security team, we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda.”

By Oct. 24, he returned to the dominant “path to defeat” theme, before going back to “decimated” the next day in Cleveland, where the president said, “I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks – and al Qaeda is decimated and Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Obama returned to Las Vegas to again say “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” He said the same thing Oct. 25 in Richmond, Va., again that day in Tampa and on Oct. 27 in Nashua, N.H.

When will liberals learn.... ah, never mind, dumb question.

The Big Dog's back

For you right wingnuts still crying about Benghazi, the President decides, based on credible info, to close embassies, and you pizz and moan about thst.

Darwin's choice

Kinda like closing the barn door after the cows are gone....

He's terrified of Benghazzi.
And it would be REALLY inconvient to have to explain ANOTHER dead State department employee....so don't act like Obama is a freaking hero for doing what he should done before!

And, now, all Obama has done is give them plenty of time to plan the next 9/11 attack. What he should do is grow a spine, and put a quick-reaction force near all the embassies, and kick the living chit out any attackers. But, that won't happen, he's afraid of upsetting his muslim brothers.

shucks

What he should do is grow a spine,
....................Darwin's Feces-You don't have a spine or a brain.

and put a quick-reaction force near all the embassies, and kick the living chit out any attackers.
.........................Why don't you join the Armed Forces and do something about it ?
Oh that's right , you're a gut-less coward behind a keyboard.

Darwin's choice

Ever the azzhat. Your mother is going to need to wash your mouth out with soap to get the Obama out of it. Keyboard commando you are....!

shucks

You are a coward with a big mouth

Darwin's choice

PMS 4shizzle? You have no clue, yet come here and shoot your big mouth off, acting tough. I've called you out on you suck azz love for Obama several times, and you resort to childish name calling. No surprise! As dimwitted as you are, I realize the incapacity of your brain to be cognitive of what I post here.

shucks

"I realize the incapacity of your brain to be cognitive of what I post here."
......I am "cognitive" and comprehend of what you post. And it reads that you are lazy and stupid.
Even Gardenman here can see it -- but he says it in a nicer way.
Sad that you can't see how are stupid and intellectually lazy you are.

Gardenman

I find it interesting you wish the President would grow a spine. As I remember this is the President who said he would get Ben Laden and when he did he would kill him.

As I remember GWB got us into Iraq which cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars but he could not find one.....alas just one WMD. Yet that was the whole purpose of geting us into Iraq. They had hundreds but GWB could not find even one. He probably still thinks today they are just not looking under the right sand pile. They are there somewhere in that country.

Then in that previous administration we had Chaney and there was a real threat to world peace if there ever was one.

You just want Obama to go in to I guess every US embassy in the world and kick all those attackers and then there will be I guess world peace and everyone will live in harmony again. You are disillusioned and thankfully Obama is the President and you are no where close to the button that could start a nuclear war.

Darwin's choice

Drowning in the kool-aid.....!
here's your president....
http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/...
And, I guess if he would have done something at one embassy, Benghazi wouldn't be such a well know city....

Gardenman

Like it or not he is your President. It may not be your choice at the polls or who you might like in office but never the less he is in the job and has the responsibilities and powers that comes with it.

You know Darwin Choce I could well have said the same about GWB and 911 as why did he not know ahead and had as per your philosophy a mass of soldiers on every corner in NYC, overhead jets flying and ships in the harbor to shoot down any unfriendly aircraft. Theh had the attack been successful in 911 GWB could have nuked every unfriendly country in the world and sent all of the Muslim world ablaze. Yep somewhere in all that havoc we might have gotten or enemys but with it killed millions of innocent people. Alas our leaders regardless of party have common sense unlike a small portion of those who believe as you.

JudgeMeNot

'nuked every unfriendly country in the world and sent all of the Muslim world ablaze'

would have worked for many of us.

Contango

Re: "Chaney (sp) and there was a real threat to world peace,"

Better check out Samantha Power, Pres. Obama's choice for UN Ambassador.

She urged military action in Libya.

There's an interventionist that ONLY a hawk would love.

http://www.thenation.com/article...

deertracker

That State Dept. employee is no more dead than all those soldiers that
were mislead to their death! Why no rant about that? That's right, your Lord and Master was in charge then!!!

mikeylikesit

Benghazi? nothing important, just four dead americans. what difference does it make?

shucks

mikeylikesit-You are a good Republican puppet.

mikeylikesit

im politically neutral, and we are all puppets, aren't we?..

shucks

There have to be laws - good laws.

Everybody can't run around and do whatever they want.

If you are "politically neutral" , why then are you banging the Republican's big Benghazi drum ?

Huron_1969

"Everybody can't run around and do whatever they want." coming from you ? hilarious

shucks

"Everybody can't run around and do whatever they want." coming from you ? hilarious "

.....................??? Explain yourself.

Mystery_Cheese

So you know 4shizzle, most people who look at things logically don't apply a label like Republican or Democrat to themselves when deciding their views and opinions. Someone, much like me as well, who is politically neutral can share the views of both sides on many issues.

I agree with Democrats on many issues, like birth control (I think it's a personal issue between a patient and a doctor, and at most, the states should decide the laws on this, not the federal government), gay marriage (I totally agree that homosexuals should get the same benefits that heterosexuals have), but yet also agree with Republicans on many issues, like gun control (more background checks will never help with criminals, since they don't bother with those and go straight to the black market, where they can easily obtain weapons that a law-abiding citizen wouldn't be allowed), and immigration (it's not fair to all those immigrants that did things the legal way to be delayed even longer because of illegals sneaking into the country.)

However, neither party fully encompasses my values and beliefs. Both sides love welfare and warfare, despite the fact they'll tell you otherwise. I just wish more people were politically neutral, instead of frothing at the mouth with hate and vile words for those with a different set of beliefs.

shucks

"So you know 4shizzle, most people who look at things logically -"
....................Try looking at things realistically.

"-don't apply a label like Republican or Democrat to themselves when deciding their views and opinions. Someone, much like me as well, who is politically neutral can share the views of both sides on many issues."
......................I don't believe EVERYTHING that the Democratic party stands for and I can't think of ANYTHING from the Republican party to believe in.

What party do you vote for ?
Let me guess.
Republican ?

Mystery_Cheese

Technically I voted Republican, but I wrote in Dr. Ron Paul instead of picking between the lesser of two evils (Obama or Mccain, Obama or Romney). As for when I registered to vote, I declared myself as an Independent. Realistically, it was the wise thing to do. Since Dr. Paul won't be running next election, unless someone steps up with some really good ideas, I won't vote for either party. I'll admit though, I was pretty close to voting for Mike Gravel, but he didn't address some issues I considered extremely important.

shucks

ok

deertracker

Iraq, over 4000 dead and no WMD! WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

Contango

Re: " WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?"

Better talk to those "right wing nuts" over at CNN who are having a Benghazi special Tues. evening:

http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/20...

Looks like the Sock Puppet-in-Chief is covering for the CIA.

A video caused it right? :)

grumpy

What the president said was just about an internet movie trailer when appearing on Letterman, is now a primetime special on CNN. Seems like more and more keeps coming out and coming faster... drip... drip... drip...

It took 2 years for watergate for it to come to a head... it is now been almost 11 months. drip... drip... drip... it is how dams burst... drip... drip... drip till the drips become a strteam drip... stream... drip

Mystery_Cheese

Any intelligent person knows that WMDs had nothing to do with Iraq. Bush and his staff were after something else, control of the Middle East. Oh, and Barack is just as much of a warmonger as Bush, he just does it with more subtlety. Most Republicans and Democrats are war-lovers.

Pages