Remember those exciting days? Didn’t you feel you were an important player in the War on Terror when the alert went up a notch, and you accordingly took action to …uh…to do…something?
Dennis Montgomery’s software (at $20 million) helped keep us aware that terrorist plots were simmering everywhere, because it…
It was exciting, wasn’t it?:
In December 2003, Mr. Montgomery reported alarming news: hidden in the crawl bars broadcast by Al Jazeera, someone had planted information about specific American-bound flights from Britain, France and Mexico that were hijacking targets.
C.I.A. officials rushed the information to Mr. Bush, who ordered those flights to be turned around or grounded before they could enter American airspace.
“The intelligence people were telling us this was real and credible, and we had to do something to act on it,” recalled Asa Hutchinson, who oversaw federal aviation safety at the time. Senior administration officials even talked about shooting down planes identified as targets because they feared that supposed hijackers would use the planes to attack the United States, according to a former senior intelligence official who was at a meeting where the idea was discussed. The official later called the idea of firing on the planes “crazy.”
Seriously, though, didn’t you too want to scream at the stupidity when the mail room of the greeting card company you worked for in Witchata sent out memos telling you to be careful of suspicious-looking packages? Because, you know, there was an orange terrorist alert?