NBC’s Lester Holt reports on updates on the unfolding story about the terror threat apparently timed to coincide with the observances of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Allahpundit’s been doing a great job of keeping abreast of the details, and this clip doesn’t provide a lot more than what is already known; it’s more to deepen the understanding of why we know it, and just how much is actually known. Part of why we don’t know more may be because we’re still not getting direct access to Younis Al-Mauritani, which is a predictable, unavoidable consequence of the Osama bin Laden mission in May, and one with which we knew we would probably deal at some point.
Holt is right to note that a car bomb is decidedly low-tech, and implies that al-Qaeda’s capabilities may have substantially eroded — assuming, of course, that the “dirty bomb” angle never comes into play. Still, car bombs can be massively devastating, as we discovered in 1995 in Oklahoma City, and if AQ sent three men to conduct the attack, a coordinated series of car bombs aimed at 9/11 observances could send casualties into the thousands. It doesn’t take a massive level of sophistication to kill a lot of people, unfortunately. And a terror network “on the verge of strategic defeat” is not quite the same thing as a defeated terror network.
Update: A timely reminder from Janet Napolitano that homeland security is a shared responsibility for all citizens:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is asking the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to authorities as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches. …
She said homeland security is a shared responsibility and urged people “if you see something, say something.”
Update II: From the headlines, ABC reports that US officials might have one potential terrorist already identified:
Officials may have the name of one of the suspected bomb plotters after a 24-hour intelligence manhunt, U.S. officials tell ABC News.
The hunt included an analysis of flight logs and other documents following a report from a CIA informant that three people were dispatched by al Qaeda to carry out a bomb plot in the United States, in either New York or Washington.
The intelligence from the informant, who is considered reliable by the CIA, led to the national state of high alert over the possible terror strike on the anniversary of 9/11, but the informant’s information itself may be secondhand, ABC News has learned.
Despite the secondhand nature of the source, the high quality of the information led authorities to deem the threat credible, if uncorroborated, and triggered the massive rapid police response in Washington and New York, and the all hands intelligence community and law enforcement manhunt.