Experts foresee pre-election attack

As if the trauma of Sept. 11 wasn’t terrible enough for the country, what if there was another even more horrific attack just before the November elections?

That’s the concern of more than a few people, including some in the Bush administration. One of the first to publicly broach this line of reasoning was Gen. Tommy Franks (Retd.). In November of last year, he told Cigar Aficionado magazine that a major terrorist attack (whether in the U.S. or not), likely would mean suspension of the Constitution and a declaration of martial law with an attendant military government.

At nearly the same time, David Rothkopf, a former official in the Clinton administration, writing in The Washington Post, presented a piece headlined: “Terrorist Logic: Disrupt the 2004 Election.”

“Recently,” he wrote, “I co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives, many of whom are specialists in security and terrorism-related issues. Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004.”

Rothkopf termed these executives as “serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic.” He said attacking during major elections is an effective tool for terrorists.

USA Today reported: “Even before the bombings in Madrid, White House officials were worrying that terrorists might strike the United States before the November elections.”

The New York Times said the FBI has warned the oil industry in Texas that there could be attacks by al-Qaeda on pipelines and refineries near the November election.

“In the wake of what happened in Madrid, we have to be concerned about the possibility of terrorists attempting to influence elections in the United States by committing a terrorist act,” FBI Director Robert Mueller told CNN.

Right-wing broadcasters picked up the speculation, declaring that if anyone but Bush is elected, the terrorists will have won.

Maureen Farrell, writing for, wondered: “Given the bizarre mind-melding between the government and media and the Soviet-style propagandizing that’s been taking place, one has to wonder: Is there any significance in the fact that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and David Brooks are all beating the same tom-tom?”

Richard Clarke, former White House counter-terrorism chief, said: “[There are] dozens of people, in the White House…writing talking points, calling up conservative columnists, calling up talk radio hosts, telling them what to say. It’s interesting. All the talk radio people, the right-wing talk radio people across the country, saying the exact same thing, exactly the same words.”

Wayne Madsen and John Stanton produced an article headed “When the War Hits Home: U.S. Plans for Martial Law, Tele-Governance and the Suspension of Elections.” In that piece, they looked at some scary things that may lie ahead.

“One incident,” they wrote, “one aircraft hijacked, a ‘dirty nuke’ set off in a small town, may well prompt the Bush regime, let’s say during the election campaign of 2003-2004, to suspend national elections for a year while his government ensures stability. Many closed-door meetings have been held on these subjects, and the notices for these meetings have been closely monitored by the definitive”

Should martial law come to pass, Air Force General Ralph Eberhart will be able to override the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the use of military personnel for civilian law enforcement, and put troops in our streets. The good general was in charge of NORAD on Sept. 11, but instead of being disciplined for failure to provide air defense for the country, he was promoted and put in a position to do even more damage.

Way before the Madrid bombings, before Richard Clarke spoke up, before other whistleblowers came out of cover, David Rothkopf wrote that a majority of experts he interviewed not only predicted that the pre-election attacks would “be greater than those of 9/11,” but any such assaults would aid the president’s re-election bid.

Rothkopf said: “assaults before major votes have [traditionally] benefited candidates who were seen as tougher on terrorists.” He said terrorist groups would favor the election of such leaders because the anti-terror administrations react massively and make it easier for the terrorists to justify their causes and their methods.

Exactly such a scenario could be lurking in our future.

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