Hey, remember when questioning the timing of terror plots was cool?

A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian…

Dismissing claims of a developed, co-ordinated plot aimed at Britain, France and Germany, European intelligence officials also pointed the finger at the US, and specifically at the White House. “To stitch together [the terror plot claims] in a seamless narrative is nonsensical,” said one well-placed official.

While Abdul Jabbar, a Briton, and others killed by an American drone strike on 8 September in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, were heard discussing co-ordinated plots, including possible “commando-style” attacks on prominent buildings and tourist sites in European capitals, security and intelligence officials said the plots were nowhere near fruition…

By making it clear that the US drone strikes were pre-emptive, and were not in any way combating an imminent threat, European officials raised fresh questions – this time directly involving a British national – about the legality of the attacks, which could be viewed as assassinations.

You’ll notice that I haven’t quoted the Pakistani diplomat in the excerpt even though he goes so far as to accuse The One of angling for advantage in the midterms by hyping this threat. Why not? Read today’s WSJ piece about Pakistani intelligence encouraging the Taliban to keep killing American soldiers and you’ll understand. After nine years of them playing a double game to hold India in check, propping up jihadist proxies in Afghanistan on the one hand while gladhanding the United States about being an ally in the war on terror on the other, it’s pure madness to trust anything that anyone in the Pakistani government says. Hasan, the diplomat quoted in the piece, actually has the balls to say that if we have information on jihadis, we should hand it over to Pakistan and they’ll go after them — even though Petraeus has been begging them for months to do just that in North Waziristan. In fact, that was one of the key reasons identified by the Times a few weeks ago for the new CIA drone bombardment in the tribal areas. Pakistan won’t act, so we have to. And before too long, we may have to send special forces across the border to do the job that they won’t do. The reason Pakistani diplomats are backbiting Obama now is precisely because he did act (says Hasan of the CIA campaign, it’s “set the country on fire”), so now they’re retaliating with conspiratorial hints about bogus terror threats being trumped up for political gain. They’re pure scum. I don’t believe a word out of their mouths.

The allegations from European counterterror officials are more credible, but then they also have a motive to say that the threat’s exaggerated, don’t they? Remember, ABC reported last week that the jihadi operatives in the plot could already be in place and ready to attack; just this afternoon, there’s a new story out that no fewer than 45 terrorists are being tracked in Germany and that new information is corroborating reports of a plot:

US and German officials said … Siddiqui’s claims have been verified by a second captured German terror recruit and “other sources” that officials were reluctant to describe in detail for fear of compromising law enforcement operations…

“There are several different sources, all confirming that there are plots afoot by al Qaeda central, that is to say the Osama bin Laden organization in Pakistan, to do attacks in Europe,” said Dick Clarke, a former White House national security official and now an ABC News consultant. “Now they don’t have anything that points to the United States yet, but if there were to be simultaneous attacks in Europe, it’s at least possible there would be a simultaneous attack in the United States as well.”…

Officials in Germany and the United States said they still did not have a specific date of the timing of the plot, and US officials say they believe the plot’s “trigger date” may have been delayed because of the media coverage and government travel alerts.

So we have a large, credible plot that’s hugely embarrassing to European intelligence given that no one’s quite sure how big it’ll get and how many red flags they might have missed in the process. Is it really a surprise that they’d grumble to the Guardian about how it’s not a big deal and hardly imminent and everything’s cool, etc etc? They’re covering their own asses for not doing more to weed out homegrown jihadis in their midst while also using this opportunity to cast aspersions on the CIA drone campaign, which many Europeans regard as counterproductive and possibly illegal. It’s politics, all right — from their side, at least as much as Obama’s. But never mind all that. Let’s use basic logic: Why oh why would Obama try to frighten voters before the midterms with news of a terror plot when (a) voters prefer Republicans when terrorism is front and center and (b) U.S. officials have said repeatedly that there’s little evidence of any threat to America from this plot, only (so far) to Europe? Does that make any sense at all? This whole idea is one step away from Trutherism.