QUESTIONING THE TIMING AGAIN
NBC News has learned that U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.
A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner....
In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports....
Another British official, or maybe the same one, was a bit more direct a couple of days ago:
The British security official said reports that the attack was scheduled for Aug. 16 -- next Wednesday -- were "rubbish."
Is this just a difference in how the two countries approach investigations? That's what the NBC story says:
American security officials have become edgier than the British in such cases because of missed opportunities leading up to 9/11.
Ditto this story from The New York Times:
The disclosure that British officials conducted months of surveillance before arresting 24 terrorism suspects this week highlighted what many terrorism specialists said was a central difference between American and British law enforcement agencies.
The British, they say, are more willing to wait and watch.
...The Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have suggested in the past that they would never allow a terrorist plot discovered here to advance to its final stages, for fear that it could not be stopped in time....
Maybe. And maybe it was just a coincidence that arrests this week fit perfectly into Operation Define Ned Lamont and the '06 Field of Democratic Candidates Before They Can Define Themselves.
It may actually be working in Connecticut, at least with some voters:
Some even said they had flirted with supporting Mr. Lamont after the primary, but decided to back Mr. Lieberman after the news on Thursday that British authorities had foiled a terrorist plot to detonate homemade bombs on planes crossing the Atlantic.
"I'm going to vote for Lieberman," said Judi VanStone, an administrative assistant from Waterbury who switched her party affiliation to Democrat before the primary. "Especially after today."
And Bush's approval rating on homeland security is up eleven points in a new Newsweek poll.
Alas for him and his party, his approval rating is still awful -- 38%. And
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they wanted to see the Democrats win enough seats to take over Congress, while 34 percent said they wanted the Republicans to retain control, the poll found.
More arrests to come?