Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation.You can judge the list for yourself here.
I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a "terror event" -- a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.
We figured we’d better put that list of coincidences on the public record. We did so this evening on the television program, with ten of these examples. The other three are listed at the end of the main list, out of chronological order. The contraction was made purely for the sake of television timing considerations, and permitted us to get the live reaction of the former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson.
We bring you these coincidences, reminding you, and ourselves here, that perhaps the simplest piece of wisdom in the world is called the logical fallacy. Just because Event A occurs, and then Event B occurs, that does not automatically mean that Event A caused Event B.
But one set of comments from an informed observer seems particularly relevant as we examine these coincidences.
On May 10th of this year, after his resignation, former Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge looked back on the terror alert level changes, issued on his watch.
Mr. Ridge said: "More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert)… there were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said 'for that?'"
Please, judge for yourself.
UPDATE: Readin' gives you a headache?
The video is at Crooks and Liars.