Embassy closures extended until Saturday

posted at 8:01 am on August 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The unprecedented closures of almost two dozen American embassies will continue for almost another week, the State Department announced yesterday, following intelligence that pointed to a massive al-Qaeda plot against American diplomatic facilities.  The decision continues to raise eyebrows even as members of Congress tell the media that the threat is the most serious they’ve seen in years. CBS News reports this morning that the threat level is the highest since 2006, and will continue to be until there is “clarity” on the actual plot:

In these cases, it’s difficult to second-guess the security reaction without knowing what the intelligence actually states.  Both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill apparently agree with the assessment, which indicates that it’s clear enough to remove the usual politics from the calculations.  However, this news comes as quite a shock after hearing the Obama administration brag throughout 2012 that “al-Qaeda is on the run.” To put this threat into perspective, the US has never had to close so many embassies at once in the face of a security threat — not even during wartime against actual existential threats such as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  This action makes it very clear that the rumors of AQ’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

Jeffrey Goldberg wonders whether the threat now isn’t being greatly exaggerated, too — or at least the American response to it:

It seems as if al-Qaeda, or its Arabian Peninsula branch, has succeeded in terrorizing the United States of America again, but this time without – as of this writing – detonating an ounce of C4. It doesn’t strike me as a wise idea to preemptively shutter 21 different American embassies across the Middle East and North Africa in response to NSA-collected terrorist chatter. What message does this post-Benghazi, “don’t say we didn’t tell you” move send to the citizens of the Middle East, who, it is our hope, understand the United States to be a powerful and fearless country dedicated to openness and to the defeat of fanaticism? We have already muddied any message of fearlessness by turning our embassies into bunkers. Now, we are admitting that these bunkers aren’t safe. What next? Virtual embassies on Facebook? Ambassadors who never leave Washington?

The Administration tells us that the heightened threat of al-Qaeda terror extends through the end of the month. Is the State Department going to keep its diplomatic fortresses closed through September 1? Late this afternoon, State announced that 19 diplomatic posts are going to stay closed until August 10; others, including those in Baghdad, and Kabul, of all places, are scheduled to reopen Monday. It is unclear if these closings will be extended, or if the reopening embassies and consulates will again be closed. It could be that many of our diplomats — who, by the way, are still living in the target countries, just in less secure locations, generally, than embassy compounds – will not be at work for awhile.

Goldberg also notes the sudden reversal of the Obama administration on the health of AQ:

As a public service, let me translate this warning for you: “Dear U.S. citizen: So, it turns out that al-Qaeda has not been defeated. In fact, its operatives want to kill you. Mainly, they want to kill you if you happen to be in one of the following 21 countries. Also, by the way, they want to kill you in the U.S., but right now let’s not talk about that, and focus on the immediate threat. We don’t know where, when or how al-Qaeda is going to try to kill you – probably August, if it makes you feel any better. In the past, al-Qaeda terrorists have targeted planes, trains, and automobiles, as well as large buildings, and small buildings. Also, boats. Our suggestion is that you not leave your hotel. And stay out of the lobby! Lobbies are dangerous. Actually, come to think of it, al-Qaeda has also targeted hotels in the past, so maybe you should just leave your hotel now, but through the kitchen, or the service entrance. But try to avoid people, and also places where there are people, once you have left your hotel. If you want to come home, please do so, but just be very careful at the airport. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

As Goldberg notes in his conclusion, the State Department had to issue its warnings after the threats surfaced.  To refuse to do so for political purposes would have been criminal neglect had an attack materialized, and some believe that already happened once before — in Benghazi.  But perhaps the threat and the current reaction to it would have been taken more seriously had the current administration not spent 2012 dancing on the grave of a terrorist group that turned out to be alive and well after all.


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Decimated Al Qaeda gets major strategic victory without firing a shot in it’s jihad war against the infidels.

paulsur on August 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM

They also get to test which communication avenues draw a response and they get to see how we respond. Maybe they spoke so openly because it was just probing to see what measures we put in place and then they can plan how to defeat them in future attacks.

KW64 on August 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Oldnuke on August 5, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Unlike the old saw from 1984, it is true, or at least Eastasia has always been at war withus.

Steve Eggleston on August 5, 2013 at 9:52 AM

How much about this ‘warning’ will be used to justify NSA snooping on Americans at home as well, if not more, than on terror groups outside the country? I have a feeling the story will be we need NSA snooping so it’s best to not investigate, defund, or otherwise curtail their operations.

Trouble at home, like with ‘phony’ scandals? Make up a foreign threat. It’s classic; the theories of Machiavelli are strong with this Administration.

Liam on August 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Yes, an attack by a foreign power might solve a lot of problems for Obama, whose popularity is on the skids. His Obamacare is falling apart, with Dems joining GOP in calling for defund/repeal. His IRS is under siege from both sides of the isle and creeps closer to the WH by the day. His dereliction of duty in Benghazi is attracting growing scrutiny. His NSA is on the verge of being reigned in by Congress. And on and on. He desperately needs something to unify the people behind him, and an attack from a foreign enemy just may be what he has in mind.

petefrt on August 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

“Al Qaeda is dead, and Amb Stevens is alive”

oh wait.

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Those Benghazi weapons came in handy during those jail breaks, huh?

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I posted on a similar article-
Just wondering what has changed since Benghazi. All the eavesdropping was in place prior to Benghazi but it still occurred. Now 11 months later everything is shut down because “chatter”. Sounds like either Benghazi was a a massive failure on Obama’s part or the Feds are trying to justify a massive intrusion into Americans’ private lives. I don’t see how they can have it both ways now.

jaywemm on August 5, 2013 at 9:45 AM

jaywemm on August 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Yes, an attack (real or otherwise) by a foreign power might solve a lot of problems for Obama, whose popularity is on the skids. His Obamacare is falling apart, with Dems joining GOP in calling for defund/repeal. His IRS is under siege from both sides of the isle and creeps closer to the WH by the day. His dereliction of duty in Benghazi is attracting growing scrutiny. His NSA is on the verge of being reigned in by Congress. And on and on. He desperately needs something to unify the people behind him, and an attack (real or otherwise) from a foreign enemy just may be what he has in mind.

petefrt on August 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

This ReWrite™ is brought to you by “Wag the Dog” – It worked before.

Steve Eggleston on August 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Democratic Dominoes: Toppling in 2014. Pretty unanimous that the Senate Majority is now in play

Maybe a little threat from abroad could stop these dominoes from toppling.

petefrt on August 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

This ReWrite™ is brought to you by “Wag the Dog” – It worked before.

Steve Eggleston on August 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Thanks for the edit, Steve. It better expresses what I meant.

petefrt on August 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Wag the Dog is a series?

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

If one is protecting intelligence means and methods, it might be very wise to “overprotect”, so to speak.

It’s bad enough that we know from whence the intelligence came, because some idiot and sadly anonymous Administration official wanted to sound more educated than he ought to have, but otherwise this is how I’d do it if I wanted the adversary to believe we know less than is known.

unclesmrgol on August 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Those thinking Al-Qaida may have been testing the US with chatter are giving them too much credit for intelligence.

However, after seeing the response after just talking about it has probably given them pause, yet if there is a chance to kill some infidels they will not pass that up. Hatred can be so blinding.

TerryW on August 5, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Six dead & 25 hurt in a bomb blast in the southern Philippines.

My wife & I are moving as I write to a city about 2 1/2 hours’ drive from that scene.

itsnotaboutme on August 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Wag the Dog is a series?

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Brought to you by DC Productions. After all, the cost of producing a film now jacks up GDP by that amount whether or not it turns dollar one at the box office.

Steve Eggleston on August 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

…do you think they’ll warn Benghazi…since it’s the ‘greatest threat’ since 2006?

KOOLAID2 on August 5, 2013 at 10:56 AM

We shouldn’t have any embassies in any of those sorry-a$$ countries anyway. Close them permanently. Instead, we should be carpet-bombing them. (That is, once we evacuate any non-Muzzies.) Those embassies are filled with nothing but empty-suited careerist brain-dead hacks in the State Department, and barely more competent CIA peeps. Our national security situation is pathetic. Everyone in Washington is pathetic. Eff them all. If we replaced all of these losers with regular HA commenters, our fortunes would turn around dramatically for the better. I personally announce that I am throwing my hat in the ring for the hopefully-soon-to-be-created position of ‘Muzzie country re-demographicing czar.’ Can you imagine what that real estate would be worth with no Muzzies? Re-demographicing Muzzie land for fun and profit…

WhatSlushfund on August 5, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I thought that we were incapable of gathering intelligence like this now since Snowden blew the lid on our government spying on US citizens?

At least that was what we are repeatedly told. If terrorists immediately changed their behaviors based on the outing of the NSA surveillance boondoggle, then how on earth did the NSA find these real and credible threats?

weaselyone on August 5, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Terrorists win again.

Moesart on August 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

I though AQ is on the run?

If an impending and real attack is known, why would we advertise we know about it? Isn’t that a breach of security, risking assets we have that gave us the information? Something doesn’t seem right with all of this.

Liam on August 5, 2013 at 8:08 AM

It’s all designed to tamp down all this recent concern that we might not have any privacy or personal security left in America.

A crisis is such a wonderful thing to take advantage of.

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The platinum-sprayed horseturd will fly to Los Angeles tomorrow, no doubt to campaign some more and b/s the people about obama’care’, how ‘mean’ the Rs who kiss his azz are, etc.

If there is a serious threat why is he not in DC?

Terrorists win again.

Moesart on August 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

They wan the war and will continue it anyway. He helps them. I don’t believe for 2 secs that the 3 jailbreaks for 3000, in 3 countries, in 2 weeks, were such, and were coincidental.

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM

This, in a totally bullshit age

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Yes, an attack (real or otherwise) by a foreign power might solve a lot of problems for Obama, whose popularity is on the skids. His Obamacare is falling apart, with Dems joining GOP in calling for defund/repeal. His IRS is under siege from both sides of the isle and creeps closer to the WH by the day. His dereliction of duty in Benghazi is attracting growing scrutiny. His NSA is on the verge of being reigned in by Congress. And on and on. He desperately needs something to unify the people behind him, and an attack (real or otherwise) from a foreign enemy just may be what he has in mind.

petefrt on August 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

And you forgot this

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Now the O administration is acting like a bunch of wussies because they screwed up Benghazi so bad. Who said it was phony and didn’t matter?

Tater Salad on August 5, 2013 at 11:32 AM

So after next Saturday, do the terrorists have something else to do?

oldroy on August 5, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Maybe the terrorists are just punking us since they know that the NSA is listening to everything.

weaselyone on August 5, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Did someone record another YouTube video!?

EddieC on August 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Oops. A wrong word can get a post deleted.

For those thinking AL-Qaida may be just flapping their gums for a reaction is giving them too much credit. The ROP is blinded by their love and the main objective is to sideline any infidel they can. The bigger the event, the better.

TerryW on August 5, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Not to worry! This crisis will soon be averted when Susan Rice, Lurch, and Hueissan Obama find an American to blame and throw in jail! It may be a YouTube video, an article, music, or just some anti-Muslim thought! The thought police are getting very, very, good lately! Remember: ‘The future does not belong to those who insult Allah!”Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, do not believe in “Stand Your Ground” so all threats,real. or imagined, must cause us to flee immediately! That is the O-Benghazi doctrine!! It does appear that those 21 embassies may be the victim of profiling and Erik will be looking into that!! We must honor Trayvon or something…!

Marco on August 5, 2013 at 12:05 PM

How can that be? Obama said he destroyed Al Qaeda, and we all know Obama never lies.

jqc1970 on August 5, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Terrorists don’t have to do anything else. They have proved Obama a paper tiger. They have made the most powerful military nation on earth run and hide. They have made her to spy upon her own people, to molest children and disabled senior citizens before boarding airplanes and trains, to infringe upon every sacred freedom we hold dear and which set us apart from the Islamo-fascism they represent. While such things are the actual goal of terrorism, they have succeeded beyond their wildest imagination.

deepdiver on August 5, 2013 at 12:06 PM

I don’t get it. Either this is totally exaggerated for political use or we have completely lost leverage against AQ.

Either way, epic fail.

PattyJ on August 5, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Six dead & 25 hurt in bomb blast in southern Philippines.
My wife & I are moving as I write to a city about 2 1/2 hours’
itsnotaboutme on August 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

?

onomo on August 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM

If they say there is a grave threat, there probably is not. If they deny a grave threat, there probably is.

Everything that emanates from this administration and its America-hating sociopathic punk at the top (him and Valerie Jarrett) is a lie. Up is down, down is up.

DIStrust, and verify, with this treasonous group.

Right Mover on August 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

If they say there is a grave threat, there probably is not. Right Mover on August 2013 at 12:54 PM

That was my first take. If it’s coming from the white house, it’s clearlly a lie. One can only use them as the litmus test. It will always be a negative results but it will be 100% accurate. If they accuse you of racism, it’s while they’re being racist. If they accuse you of using something strictly for political gain… well the examples are unending, but can anyone comment on itsnotaboutme’s comment? Any newswire confirmantions of an attack?
Anyone?

onomo on August 5, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Close the federal government in Washington DC, while you’re at it.

We’ll all be better off.

No need to sequester after all.

Stepan on August 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Six dead & 25 hurt in a bomb blast in the southern Philippines.

My wife & I are moving as I write to a city about 2 1/2 hours’ drive from that scene.

itsnotaboutme on August 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

?

onomo on August 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Are you questioning the content or the relevance, my friend?

It’s obviously related because of the terror involved.

My wife & I are moving there to start a charity. I posted this because I thought someone would find it interesting. :)

itsnotaboutme on August 5, 2013 at 8:37 PM

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