A terrorist plot is foiled, and lives, possibly thousands, are saved. Where does this story belong? Page 1, you say?
“Bush Details 2002 Plot to Attack L. A. Tower,” was on page A 3 of my edition of this morning’s Washington Post. It was about a foiled Al Qeada plot to blow up Library Tower, the tallest building in Los Angeles.
Despite mediocre placement, the story did include pertinent information:
“Bush mistakenly identified the tower as the ‘Liberty Tower,’ and aides later corrected him.”
The paper is certainly correct in pointing out that Bush’s providing information on this plot now has political ramifications-he is being attacked for spying on your ordinary, average Joe who is in touch with al Qeada-and this bolsters his argument. The article did not skimp on this aspect of the story:
“Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism specialist who heads the Washington office of Rand Corp., said Bush’s account adds some interesting detail to the Library Tower episode. But he said it still leaves key questions about the case unanswered.
“‘It doesn’t really give us any more indication of whether this was a plot that was derailed or preempted, or a plot that was more in the realm of an idle daydream,’ Hoffman said.
“Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, mocked the idea of raising the alleged Library Tower plot. “‘Maybe they’re tired of talking about [the] Brooklyn Bridge and they’re trying to find a different edifice of some sort,’ he said, referring to another alleged terrorist plot that some have said was inflated by the government.”
The article did quote the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser saying that Americans are safer as a result of arrests made in this case. Duh.
Even though the plot had been disclosed previously, but without detail, it deserved better play. The Post was correct in quoting skeptical sources, but mightn’t the newspaper (and Senator Rockefeller?) also have taken the plot a bit more seriously?