“The threat appears to be much worse than it has (been) in a long time,”
“It all leads us to believe something could happen in the near future.”
These statements from U.S. officials are what has prompted the U.S. government to shut down its 22 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa. Of particular concern is Yemen, where the government is “on high alert against possible attacks in the days to come,” says a senior U.S. security official. Britain, France and Germany have said they, too, will close their embassies in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Sunday and Monday for security reasons.
The intelligence alert couldn’t come at a more opportune time for the intelligence gathering community particularly as the NSA has fallen from grace over the Edward Snowden debacle. And now that Snowden has received temporary asylum in Russia, there’s no telling how far down the rabbit hole he will go, taking United States “secrets” with him.
As frightened and horror-filled as I am of the possibility of another 911-like attack, the discovery of such plots — that are legitimate — by organizations like the NSA do a lot to validate the necessity of covert, high-tech surveillance operations in the country. The thing is, how do you prove there was a legitimate discovery of a terrorist plot unless, a) a culprit or culprits are caught in the act or b) a culprit or culprits actually commit the terrorist act?
And of course the unprecedented action of closing down all U.S. embassies in the M.E., possibly for the entire month of August, may also help stave off the lingering criticism of the Obama Administration over the September 11, 2012 attack of the U.S. compound in Benghazi Libya, which killed four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stephens.
“House leaders have been briefed, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, adding that the travel alert and embassy closings provided “some understanding of the seriousness of the threat. New York Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has also heard such briefings, applauded the government’s decision to close its diplomatic missions.
“I give them credit,” the Republican said of the Obama administration. “I think the government is doing exactly the right thing here.” — CNN Politics
Two birds, one stone.
Al-Qaeda leader Aymanal-Zawahri’s condemnation of the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi last month; the resulting chaos in the state of Egypt; newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rouhani replacing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; “Highly charged emotions” coming off the Muslim religious holidays and Intelligence officials reporting a “high volume of internet chatter” back and forth between groups suspected of terrorist activities, are reasons given for the change in climate and subsequent heightened security.