Feds Admit Feeding
by Black S. Heape
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the face of mounting blog-based criticism that federal agents sit idly by as the news media show prospective terrorists how to blow up innocent citizens, representatives of three agencies today finally admitted that they have been feeding false information to news outlets.
The revelation came during a joint press conference of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security as they spoke before a collection of the best-read bloggers on the Internet.
"Faisal Shahzad didn't really have a car bomb," said aging FBI Assistant Director and former PGA golf pro, "Pa" Ganduh. "We just put that out there so that terrorists would not know how close he came to pulling off a truly tragic attack.
"Robert Reed didn't have a shoe bomb, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab didn't have an underwear bomb. We made fake Converse and Fruit of the Loom bombs just to throw terrorists off. We would like to thank ABC News for showing that underwear bomb, which actually my wife made, using some of her own underwear and a plastic bag of baking soda."
Speaking before a motley crew of pasty-white computer nerds and lumpy couch potatoes, whose major contact with the outside world usually takes place through keyboads and mice, Ganduh said his agency has agreements with broadcast networks, major newspapers and a handful of other media to ensure that dangerous information is not disseminated to prospective terrorists.
"We would be idiots to provide would-be criminals with ideas on various ways to kill our people," he said, "including how to make bombs, wear to place them and how to get away with doing it.
"We want to make sure that prospective terrorists never learn the details of failed or successful terrorist acts throughout the world. Our partners in the news media are equally congnizant of our concern and are taking steps of their own accord to protect our security."
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pointed out that American and British citizens suspected of plotting terrorist attacks have been members of independent cells, having had no or little contact with the Islamic extemist groups that inspire them.
"These independent terrorist cells must figure out how to carry out attacks on their own without help from Al Qaeda, Sunni militants or the Taliban," she said. "That is why we are so protective of our information. Besides, there are certain ways of terrorizing our citizens that would be far more effective than a car bomb in killing people, such as broadcasting radioactive waste by a crop duster airplane, spreading anthrax through a basketball stadium's air conditioning system, or poisoning an entire city population by dropping a one-pound package of cyanide in a city water system."
She said her agency has suppressed information in connection with all failed and successful terrorist attacks worldwide since she was appointed to her post.
She urged Internet bloggers to refrain from spreading potentially dangerous information.
"If you notice some information that a terrorist could use," he said, "keep it under your hat.
"I would like to thank President Barack Obama for his laser like focus on border security, which has virtually stopped unwanted foreigners from crossing our borders."
Ganduh said his agency takes pains to make certain that America's enemies do not learn other ways to disrupt the country, giving the examples of sabotaging a major natural gas line and setting an electrical transformer station on fire.
Blogger Bagg A. Knurves asked about the accuracy of a press report that the Times Square bomber bought holiday firecrackers to use as a detonating device.
"That report was partly accurate," Ganduh said. "He actually bought some holiday crackers. We just added four letters to confuse the terrorists."
S. Kennan Bohne, who writes a blog geared toward victims of anorexia nervosa, asked whether the news media accurately reported the Oklahoma City bombing in 1994.
"No," Ganduh replied. "If fertilizer and diesel fuel could so easily be fashioned into a bomb that destroyed an enormous building and 168 people, we would not want that information out there. So we hid the real method that Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the building. That was a good move, too, because many of the terrorists we have captured have reportedly spent years of frustration in trying to imitate McVeigh, and they don't realize he actually stole a bazooka from the Army and fired a rocket-propelled bomb into the building."
"How about the first attack on the World Trade Center," asked blogger "Bawdy" Polly Tick, whose website reflects her interest in the literal and figurative affairs of politicians.
"That one occurred the year before the Oklahoma City bombing," Ganduh said, "and so that was before we realized the importance of giving our enemies too much information. In fact, we didn't even know that Islamic extremists were our enemies at that time. So when we revealed that they nearly toppled both buildings with a single car bomb, that was a huge mistake, which we think led to further attacks on the Twin Towers.
"Nowadays we would never reveal chinks in our armor, such as the ease with which bomb materials can be sneaked through TSA screenings or that an explosive the size of a man's fist could down a jetliner or the fear we have that a dirty bomb could render a major city for generations inhospitable to human life for generations."
Smokejumper blogger Donna Lette Woodburn challenged Ganduh, saying she believed that law enforcement agents supply "way too much" information to news reporters.
"We know that Faisal Shadzah would have escaped if he had gone straight to the airport," she said. "As it was, his plane was already on the runway before the airline staff stopped him. If a credit card company can cancel my credit cards within minutes, how come the federal government can't put a stop on an American citizen trying to escape to a Muslim country?"
Ganduh asked Transportation Security Administration spokesman Allah DeLaizz to answer the question. Born to French-speaking parents in Morocco, DeLaizz said the TSA's primary objective is to protect the civil rights of travelers with special emphasis on prohibitions against racial profiling.
"We cannot discriminate on the basis of a person's skin color, race, nationality or the predominant religion of the destination country," he said. "Legally we cannot screen a young Arabic man traveling to a Muslim country any more often than we screen a 79-year-old white farmer's wife heading home to Kansas from Disneyworld.
"That's why we have picked up our screenings of older Caucasian females wearing Mickey Mouse hats — to balance things out. There aren't a lot of these elderly white ladies who travel much right now, but fortunately a lot of them have artificial hips and knees, so we can put these elderly ladies through a complete screening, which then allows us to put more young Arabs through thorough screenings. We think this is a logical and safe way to protect ourselves from hijackers."
"Have you ever had an old white lady try to sneak a bomb onto an airliner?" asked Bertha Day Sute, whose blog celebrates clothing-optional cruises.
"No complete bombs," DeLaizz replied. "But plenty of these old biddies try to smuggle bomb parts, and I congratulate our watchful agents for using their laser like focus to keep these dangerous items off our passenger airplanes.
"Not only have we intercepted knitting needles, which could be used to blind our pilots, but we also confiscated many electronic components that could be used as timing devices, such as digital watches. We also have discovered cell phones, which can be used to detonate a bomb remotely, as well as 20-ounce bottles of Dr. Pepper, which is about seven times the legal limit. That's like driving 140 miles an hour through a school zone — dangerous and reckless, showing a complete disregard for human life."