The U.S. Government's Homeland Security team provided a blanket warning covering the White House from unknowingly missing a second 9-11 type terrorist attack on U.S. soil in May. The FBI released photographs of one woman and six men they believe may be planning a terrorist attack. Two suspects include, Adnan El Shukrijumah, a Saudi native who lived in Florida, and Aafia Siddiqui, a woman from Pakistan who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The full list of suspects include:
Attorney General John Ashcroft said that following the Madrid train bombings on 11 March, al Qaeda plans for a U.S. attack were 90 percent complete. However, Ashcroft says his department is not aware of (al Qaeda's) specific plans at this moment in time.
The first date is important to note, as what Homeland Security says is, "be forewarned, but go about your business. Don't turn your back to the possibility a second attack will occur between this date and the November 2004 elections." And yet, with the warnings, Homeland Security has not raised alert levels past yellow (midpoint) on the five point scale with red being the highest level. Homeland Security created the terror alert scale after 9-11 and have elevated the threat from yellow to orange five times.
Critics of John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge claim the government is protecting their back-sides by making a blanket statement without increasing the level of alert to orange or red. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 claims through editorial style film that terror alert levels are only used to scare citizens, and that outside of airport security, the U.S. government is not concerned about terror threats at home. Moore's film interviews Oregon state troopers who said anyone could easy enter Oregon undetected by way of the state's coastline. However, John Ashcroft said, "I don't think my job is to worry about what skeptics say."
Tom Ridge said from a statement released to the press, you are damned if you do and damed if you don't, "and our default is do." In May, the cities of New York and Los Angeles claim they have not been briefed on an increase threat to two of the nation's largest cities. In June terrorist experts named Houston as the top terrorist target. Texas' largest city is home to many oil-related corporations. Homeland Security announced the first awareness campaign two days after President George W Bush addressed the nation boosting optimism for the post US-invasion of Iraq which has cost the lives of nearly 900 US-soldiers and between 7,000-9,000 Iraqi civilians.
Presidential hopeful, John Kerry, gave the White House benefit of the doubt after July's warning, only saying that the White House would have to explain its reason to increase terror alert levels. Al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden as well as thousands of his followers are still at large and thought to be stationed in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.