A self-styled Nevada codebreaker convinced the CIA he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts, prompting the Bush White House to raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, with Tom Ridge warning of "near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11," according to a new report in Playboy.Really? You believed that Al-Jazeera broadcasts contained hidden messages from terrorists? And that this con artist could decrypt them? I mean, I believed that the Bush administration was as incompetent as much as the next guy, but this is hard for me to handle.
The report deals another blow to the credibility of the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded terror alert system, and comes after Ridge's claim that the system was used as a political tool when he was DHS secretary.
The man who prompted the December 2003 Orange alert was Dennis Montgomery, who has since been embroiled in various lawsuits, including one for allegedly bouncing $1 million in checks during a Caesars Palace spree. His former lawyer calls him a "habitual liar engaged in fraud."
I would say "thank God the adults are in control now" but ... we still have that color-coded terror alert system, right? And we still can't bring water on airplanes? So ... we've got a ways to go when it comes to a rational approach to terrorism.
Edited to add a title