Homeland Security: Scaring us silly

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SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

Time to freak out, America: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s got a “gut feeling” that you’ll be facing a possible terrorist attack this summer.

In his comments, made Tuesday, he included an observation that there wasn’t really much in the way of evidence pointing to an imminent plot. But hey, who needs evidence when you have a gut with feelings? Does this vague comment seem like the sort of thing a security official should share with the general public? Does it seem like a good idea to spread fear and panic among the population without a sound reason?

Forgive us for saying so — actually don’t — but we, too, have a gut feeling. With Republican senators withdrawing their support for the Iraq war and a president practically besieged by scandal (a botched war, the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, a CIA leak case, warrantless wiretapping, operating foreign prisons and torture camps, etc.), could it be that Chertoff is trying to scare the bejeezus out of Americans to rally support for the president and the war?

We base our gut feelings on the past behavior of this administration (such as scaring the country into going to war against Iraq by telling us they had mobile bio-weapons labs).

Furthermore, we base our doubts of Chertoff’s gut feelings on the fact that he didn’t seem to have any when it came to Hurricane Katrina.

His Spidey senses weren’t tingling even after he knew — thanks to damage forecasts gathered by his own agency — that the storm would destroy the levees in New Orleans. How did that one get away from Chertoff?

If we’re about to be attacked — by terrorists or storms — his job is to keep us safe and informed, not scare us silly based on his gut’s rumblings.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Say “When.”

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