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NBC employee in New York tests positive for anthrax.
October 12, 2001 9:10 AM   Subscribe

NBC employee in New York tests positive for anthrax. Not much yet, still an un-clickable "breaking news" link at the top of msnbc.com
posted by ebarker (71 comments total)

 
here's the link
posted by kliuless at 9:12 AM on October 12, 2001


Thanks for the update, kliuless.

This really sucks. And not in a good way.
posted by ebarker at 9:17 AM on October 12, 2001


Shit. Rockefelller Center is blocks away. World Trade Center is 4 miles away. I don't feel very safe these days. (Don't ask where Times Square is).
posted by QrysDonnell at 9:18 AM on October 12, 2001


Same thing is appearing on CNN's home page. No link yet.

"New York anthrax case confirmed
An NBC employee in New York has tested postive for anthrax, network officials have told CNN. Details soon"
posted by teradome at 9:21 AM on October 12, 2001


NEW YORK, Oct. 12 — An NBC News employee has tested positive for anthrax after handling suspicious mail that was sent to NBC’s New York headquarters, network officials said Friday. The case of cutaneous anthrax - which is contracted through the skin rather than by breathing - is being investigated by the FBI and federal and local health officials, the network said.

WORD OF THE FOURTH recent case of anthrax in the United States came in a memo from top NBC executives Robert Wright and Andrew Lack and said the employee was being treated with antibiotics and was expected to make a full recovery.
(From the original MSNBC link -- and their front-page link is clickable)
posted by yesster at 9:24 AM on October 12, 2001


Here is the AP article and advisory :

Eds:
A news conference by New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani is expected to begin shortly.
We will expedite a story slugged BC-Anthrax Cases and datelined New York to incorporate BC-Attacks-Anthrax and BC-Anthrax Case.
The AP

New anthrax case reported by in NBC employee in New York
Eds: ADDS more background at end.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An employee of NBC in New York has tested positive for anthrax, the network said Friday. The FBI and CDC are investigating.
The anthrax is not the same respiratory anthrax that killed a Florida man, NBC News said in a statement.
The employee tested positive for a cutaneous — skin — anthrax infection. The employee, a woman who was not identified, has received treatment and is responding well, the network said.
A source close to the investigation said the CDC has received a possible report of anthrax but that it is not confirmed.
CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds referred all calls to the New York City Health Department, which is investigating.
NBC said the employee is in no danger and should recover fully.
The network said it had received some suspicious mail and immediately contacted the FBI, CDC and the New York Department of Health.
“The mail was tested by these organizations, and the employee was treated by several physicians. All these tests came back negative,” said the NBC statement. “However, this morning, a later test on the employee came back positive for traces of cutaneous anthrax.”
NBC said it doesn’t think the anthrax has spread beyond the one employee.
The New York case follows an anthrax scare in Florida, where a photo editor for a tabloid newspaper died from respiratory anthrax and a co-worker was found to have bacteria in his nostril. Trace amounts also turned up on a keyboard and in the mailroom of the building where several tabloids owned by American Media are located.
The FBI has said that there is no evidence that the anthrax cases are linked to terrorism, but a criminal investigation has been launched.
posted by schlaager at 9:27 AM on October 12, 2001


It'll be a sad day when another anthrax case doesn't make headlines. But we could be heading towards that.

I'm generally a pretty optimistic guy, but on 9/11, I drove over to my mom's house (at her request - she said she wanted to look at all her children, grown or not), and I was talking to my sister when she arrived. Out of nowhere, I said to her "I think there's going to be a nuclear explosion somewhere on the face of the Earth before Christmas this year."

Back then I thought it was a half-assed statement. Now I'm less sure that it was.
posted by ebarker at 9:27 AM on October 12, 2001


Not to downplay the importance of this issue, I just wanted to add that this post is another example of MeFi becoming NewsFi recently. "Calgon, take me away..." Now back to your regularly scheduled thread, already in progress. I'll take my rants to MetaTalk, instead.
posted by msacheson at 9:28 AM on October 12, 2001


It's obvious whoever is doing this is trying to scare as many people as possible. By sending them to press outlets, they assure the news will get out to the American people.

This really sucks.
posted by bondcliff at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2001


Great, now we know the bad guys have got different kinds of anthrax to choose from. That says "large scale biowarfare" to me -- criminal investigation, my foot.
posted by atlee at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2001


I'm in the New York Times building right now and we have been told of a suspicous package that *we* have recieved. They are holding us all on our floors, the elevators are closed, etc. Very scary stuff indeed.
posted by n9 at 9:34 AM on October 12, 2001


Is anyone else in NYC getting tired of the "getting back to normalcy" talk? Anthrax being mailed to NYC is not normal. The Twin Towers collapsing is not normal. Thousands dead in the Financial District is not normal. Let's be honest, normalcy is not a possibility. Not now. (Of course I'm not suggesting that New Yorkers should be in a state of panic. I'm just tired of "normalcy" being exalted.)
posted by jacknose at 9:36 AM on October 12, 2001


Not to downplay the importance of this issue, I just wanted to add that this post is another example of MeFi becoming NewsFi recently.

What? Who doesn't like Late-Breaking Uninformed News, served steaming hot?
posted by Skot at 9:39 AM on October 12, 2001


ANTHRAX! The new buzzword in fear. Too bad we are forgetting about muggers, carzy cab drivers, crack addicts, potholes, hot-dog ingredients, subway platforms, rogue cops and all the other life threatening elements that us New Yorkers face on a daily basis.

It is a bit freaky, but 1 guy out of 10 million is a statement, not an attack.

Having said that though, I have a strong urge to walk over to Times Square and give my girlfriend a hug ( she is in the Conde Naste building, the tallest one in Times Square ).
posted by remlapm at 9:44 AM on October 12, 2001


Guiliani confirmed in his conference that they are testing suspicious packages at the NY Times as well.
posted by mmm at 9:45 AM on October 12, 2001


AMI: Media Outlet (of dubious quality, but it is)
NBC: Media Outlet

Pattern? Attacks to date (terror/hoax or otherwise) have included symbols of American financial might, military might, and now "culture" might (for lack of a better term).

Of note: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, and CBS all covered the press conference live. Only NBC didn't. Odd...?
posted by davidmsc at 9:46 AM on October 12, 2001


That's weird, I also have the strong urge to give your girlfriend a hug.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2001


Is it me or is anthrax not very well suited to mass-casualty style bioterrorism? Obviously it is pretty good for scaring the shit out of everyone, but isn't it true that it really couldn't kill that many people as efficiently as some sort of virus. To me, the way it works makes it very useful for biological warfare, because it doesn't spread in big clouds and kill the soldiers attempting to deploy it. It is controllable and good for putting in bombs and stuff. But it isn't really contagious and doesn't spread itself like a virus. This is my reading of this anthrax info from the CDC. Not that it isn't dangerous, but it won't spread in waves like smallpox.
posted by donkeymon at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2001


Scripting News: "Kevin Lippert: "My wife works at the New York Times and just called. An investigative reporter opened an envelope and some black powder apparently sprayed out. The police and FBI are on site and testing for anthrax, in the meantime the street is sealed off and no on can leave the building. The rumor at the Times is that a similar envelope was received at NBC, where a NY employee just tested positive for anthrax (this is on the wires)." "
posted by owillis at 9:57 AM on October 12, 2001


Were the letters delivered by the USPS? If so, could totally unrelated mail that came in contact with the infected letters (e.g. at a sorting facility) be contaminated as well? Am I being completely paranoid?
posted by miguelbar at 10:02 AM on October 12, 2001


Both Florida and NYC anthrax cases seem to be minor "grudge" or wacko cases...but it occurred to me, perhaps they are both carefully planned pre-attack scenarios by terrorists (of any stripe) to observe exactly how the media, the government, the health system, and the citizenry would react. Scary? Dunno. But maybe these two cases aren't strictly "isolated" incidents.

And donkeymon: you are correct - anthrax is not the "best" weapon for massive attacks. Nevertheless, it can be employed effectively and there is good reason to be cautious and alert.
posted by davidmsc at 10:02 AM on October 12, 2001


They're not doing a very good job of "sealing off the third floor." NBC just aired a special report with a correspondent interview from a studio on the 3rd floor. (The Nightly News and Dateline studios are also located there, which should be fun.)
posted by aaron at 10:10 AM on October 12, 2001


Does anybody have any 'hard news' links to something at the Times? Being only blocks away I can hear a lot of sirens (not totally uncommon) but I can't tell if anything stange is going on there. Times Square doesn't appear to be any different than usual.
posted by QrysDonnell at 10:18 AM on October 12, 2001


I am on the 48th floor of the NBC building in question, 30 Rockefeller Center. A fellow employee went to the hospital to get tested and they told him that in order to be tested you had to go through bureaucratic channels with the CDC and he was sent away with two numbers to call. Our company might provide testing for us. I am not sure how I feel about this, either if they do or if they don't.

The floors are pretty big in this building. I am sure they have only sealed off a section of it.
posted by Laurable at 10:21 AM on October 12, 2001


QrysDonnell, here's the only hard news item I've seen:

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011012/ts/attack_nytimes_dc_1.html
posted by shinnin at 10:27 AM on October 12, 2001


Rumors.... assistant to N-B-C News anchor Tom Brokaw has tested positive for skin Anthrax.
posted by mmm at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2001


Be safe, Laurable. Our thoughts are with you.
posted by Optamystic at 10:32 AM on October 12, 2001


ok, mr bin laden, i'm officially terrorized now
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2001


Not to fuel fears of panic, but by way of adding factual data to the discussion, JAMA has a paper on anthrax as a biological weapon that says, in part,

"In 1970, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert committee estimated that casualties following the theoretical aircraft release of 50 kg of anthrax over a developed urban population of 5 million would be 250,000, 100,000 of whom would be expected to die without treatment.9 A 1993 report by the US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment estimated that between 130,000 and 3 million deaths could follow the aerosolized release of 100 kg of anthrax spores upwind of the Washington, DC, area, lethality matching or exceeding that of a hydrogen bomb."

Sounds pretty horribly effective to me. Those casualty estimates are based on population levels in the DC area from 1970. One can only hope that terrorists who use anthrax as an offensive weapon are prevented from any kind of aerial or water-supply based distribution.
posted by JParker at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2001


It's obvious whoever is doing this is trying to scare as many people as possible. By sending them to press outlets, they assure the news will get out to the American people.

The best explanation I've seen yet for the proliferation of front-page posts to CNN & Yahoo!

Matt you'd better start doing some ethnic profiling of the user IDs.
posted by luser at 10:41 AM on October 12, 2001


Since when is NBC N-B-C?
posted by Outlawyr at 10:41 AM on October 12, 2001


You know when you are quoting 1010wins there will be errors.
posted by mmm at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2001


Suggestion: Why don't they just let the mail stack up for a few days? Close the mailrooms. If this is a new method of attack, hazardous materials squads are going to be all over the mailrooms of government agencies, news agencies, financial institutions, etc. shortly anyway. Communicate online. No terrorist has come up with way to deliver anthrax via email, even as a .vbs attachment.
posted by JParker at 10:45 AM on October 12, 2001


Can we please stop the hysteria?

As mentioned in this version of the story, they tested the mail, and IT DID NOT CONTAIN ANTHRAX. Let me say that again - the white powder did not contain anthrax - the worker tested positive, not the powder.

So far I've seen no report that claims anthrax is being mailed to anyone.

Certainly she came into contact with it somewhere. But let's try to keep it real until we find out where.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:50 AM on October 12, 2001


Me again at The New York Times (Times Square, NYC)... The CFO of NYT just informed us that we can go back to work. The powder in the letter was white and smelled like baby-powder -- not a good match for the profile of anthrax spores.... Still, one of our newsrooms is evac'd and it will take 10-12 hours to determine that it was or was not anthrax.
posted by n9 at 10:50 AM on October 12, 2001


Thoughts:

1. I used to work in WTC. Now I work in Midtown. I'm geting a little tired of this. I told my office I'm not coming in except when utterly necessary. My ass is staying in Brooklyn where I'm safe.

2. It would be more comforting if the anthrax was borne by a mail vector. If it wasn't, there is more room for nightmarish internal conjuration of other attack vectors.

3. Just cause it's white and smells like baby powder doesn't mean it doesn't fit the profile of anthrax; one certainly could mix the two in order to produce more volume.

4. The JAMA thing doesn't impress me; it would be hard to airburst something over NYC these days.

5. You'd have to put a shitload of anthrax in a water supply to make it infectious unless it would grow there. My suspicion is water is treated in a way that makes bacterial growth unlikely. So I don't really worry about the water supply.

jon
posted by jdc at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2001


You know when you are quoting 1010wins there will be errors.

AP confirms.

And why does everyone call it "30 Rockefeller Center"? Even NBC's own people call it that. Rockefeller Center is the name of the entire several-square-city-block complex. The building is 30 Rockefeller PLAZA. <nitpick>
posted by aaron at 11:01 AM on October 12, 2001



Mailed or not, crime investigation or terrorist act, I will get (slightly) hysterical thank you very much.
posted by Laurable at 11:01 AM on October 12, 2001


Brokaw just reported that the woman in question was indeed his assistant. He looked pretty shaken up.
posted by Optamystic at 11:02 AM on October 12, 2001


Wait a second...The powder in the letter.....smelled like baby-powder

Since when was smelling a strange powder standard procedure? Isn't that frowned upon in "hazardous materials 101"?
posted by remlapm at 11:04 AM on October 12, 2001


"Going postal": guess it's not just for postal workers anymore.
posted by groundhog at 11:11 AM on October 12, 2001


y6y6y6 .
Yes, the powder tested negative for anthrax, but according to this ny times story:
The mayor said the NBC case dates to perhaps Sept. 25, two weeks after the attacks. The woman has been treated with Cipro since Oct. 1.

The network said it immediately contacted the FBI, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York Department of Health after receiving the mail.

"The mail was tested by these organizations, and the employee was treated by several physicians. All these tests came back negative," NBC said Friday. "However, this morning, a later test on the employee came back positive for traces of cutaneous anthrax."


Apparently the woman tested negative several times as well, but now she's tested positive.
posted by jnthnjng at 11:38 AM on October 12, 2001


How often do you recieve strange powder in the mail? Whether it's anthrax spores or not it's still creepy.
posted by SuperBreakout at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2001


"but now she's tested positive."

Exactly. She tested positive. The powder didn't.

Could that change? Sure. But why start getting hysteraical about anthrax in the mail when the only report we have says it came back negetive? Using this logic we should become hysterical about anything she's been near in the last month.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:53 AM on October 12, 2001


Well then don't we just have to wonder how often this test is accurate? Given that anthrax is a pretty rare disease, and Bayes' law, perhaps it was inevitable that someone who keeps getting tested will show a false positive?
posted by phoenix enflamed at 11:53 AM on October 12, 2001


And now I can't spell........ Great. Just great.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:54 AM on October 12, 2001


wouldn't those most at risk be postal workers, especially those in the mail sorting department? seems to me with all the machines and converyors working to get the mail to the right destination, unless the envelope is heremetically sealed there would be some dispersion of various particles into the local atmosphere. maybe it's just the hyseteria talking.
posted by mb01 at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2001


As long as you work in the mail sorting room and not the mail snorting room I think you're safe
posted by Outlawyr at 12:10 PM on October 12, 2001


Good grief! I just snorted....I'm personally feeling very nervous about this right now. I work at WGBH in Boston, and just the idea of being in a news organization, never mind that I open a lot of mail, has my hackles so up I can barely concentrate on work. And then you make me LAUGH, goddamit! Thank you, Outlawyr. :)
posted by Dzolali at 12:25 PM on October 12, 2001


This happened on Wednesday in Trenton, NJ. A similar package was received at a state building with a powdered substance, that freaked everyone out, but no one tested positive for anything. I am not sure if anyone was tested, but there wasn't a confirmed case.
posted by adampsyche at 12:29 PM on October 12, 2001


Hysteria...exactly where they want us...

Who's "they?" Well, Bin Laden and the boys (if it's true they're behind this), as well as Ashcroft and the boys (who are definitely behind cultivating fear, as a pretext for doing anything they want, both at home and abroad).

And all of America seems to be reacting according to plan.
posted by mapalm at 12:34 PM on October 12, 2001


And all of America seems to be reacting according to plan

from your posts ive sorta suspected you were in on the plan all along, mapalm.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:50 PM on October 12, 2001


eh, i regret that
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:52 PM on October 12, 2001


thanks, dan...for the regret, that is.
posted by mapalm at 12:58 PM on October 12, 2001


They did test for anthrax in the air after the WTC attacks, didn't they? DIDN'T THEY?!
posted by Soliloquy at 1:07 PM on October 12, 2001


Yes, this is frightening. Yes, when as a nation we have been attacked by terrorists and then start to see words like "anthrax" in the newspaper and on television, it's only natural to draw conclusions and connect the dots. But -- there has been no evidence that these cases are in any way connected to terrorists. Not bin Laden or anyone else. There has been no evidence that these three cases are in any way connected to each other. There has been no concrete evidence to suggest that suspicious packages are the vector, or that media outlets have been targeted. Panic is not the answer. There has not been an outbreak of anthrax; this is not an epidemic, nor does it appear to be an attack organized by terrorists. Go about your lives. Report suspicious packages, certainly. Go to your doctor if you show symptoms, most definitely. But don't panic or start living in fear.
posted by UnReality at 1:07 PM on October 12, 2001


Yes, I remember reading that the CDC did test the air after the WTC attack. They looked for anthrax spores and smallpox virus. They didn't detect anything. Can't remember where I read it.
posted by Holden at 1:17 PM on October 12, 2001


don't panic --UnReality

Hit the button!
posted by stbalbach at 1:27 PM on October 12, 2001


as well as Ashcroft and the boys (who are definitely behind cultivating fear, as a pretext for doing anything they want, both at home and abroad).

i hope you're kidding. I guarantee you Ashcroft is scared shitless just like everyone else. (since when did government officials cease to be human in your view?)

I'm sure Ashcroft is an ambitious guy. I'm sure he would like to have more money appropriated to his department. I do not, however, believe that he would conciously put millions of Americans at risk to do it.

Public officials are severely underappreciated in this day and age. Healthy questioning of the government is good for democracy, but outright cynicism and unsubstantiated paranoia is not. Ashcroft is working around the clock like everyone else. He (and the rest of the administration) doesn't have to time and cannot afford to escape any of this for even one second. We can turn off CNN and pretend momentarily that none of this is happening and it helps us stay sane. These people can't do that. they can't sit around and 'emotionally process' all of this like we can. Not to mention the that no matter what decision they make, there will always be a vocal contingency of people criticising their actions and attacking their personal character in the process. Yes, it's their job, and yes, they get paid to do it (although not very well), but the things that they're required to do now require almost superhuman control of their personal feelings and interests (including family) in order to focus on the task at hand. to accuse them of manipulating the American public when you have no information to substantiate that is simply disgraceful.
posted by lizs at 1:38 PM on October 12, 2001


BTW: there is no panic to be seen here at The New York Times and not really any to be seen on the streets of NYC, either. There is something, though... maybe a resentment at having to worry about dying, at having to face the dilemma of being safe and leaving NYC and dropping everything in our lives or staying and perhaps widowing our spouses and loosing our lives. I don't think many people think that this kind of thing is likely, but it's violating, a rape of our security. Are we going to survive this thing? Is living here going to be the end of me? Is the subway going to be OK today? Etc. It's a very reasoned, logical situation, not a run through the streets screaming one. But either way -- after getting penned into my office for a few hours today while the department of health removed a suspected pathogen from an office a couple floors down, I feel like there is a breaking point. We are living through a incredibly slow Blitz that may not end anytime soon.
posted by n9 at 2:08 PM on October 12, 2001


"I do not, however, believe that he would conciously put millions of Americans at risk to do it."

They aren't putting people at risk, just encouraging hysteria. It would be very easy for Mr Ashcroft to come out and tell us that they have no credible evidence attacks are near. But he doesn't do that. He continues to try and scare us. He continues to do nothing to calm and reassure people that we're going to be okay. And we are going to be okay. Everyday the warning level just keeps getting higher. I believe at this point all agencies are suppose to be on something like "double alpha special ultra alert."

Where is the evidence that the sky is falling?

"manipulating the American public when you have no information to substantiate that is simply disgraceful."

Exactly. Very well put. So why is he saying we have to be more and more alert when nothing is happening?

A year from now, after he's gutted the fourth amendment, and nothing has happened, I suspect he'll tell us that he was right all along and the only thing that prevented disaster was our losing some civil rights.

It's a win-win conspiracy for this guy. If more attacks do happen he'll tell us we have too much privacy. If no attacks happen he'll tell us we were saved by less privacy.

The fourth amendment is a good idea. Let's not trash the constitution. Okay? That's all I'm asking.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:17 PM on October 12, 2001


_If_ these attacks are 9/11 related, I don't think that inducing hysteria is the point of these attacks. Rather, the more likely motive is to spur the U.S. to retaliate in such a fashion that a wider war become inevitable. Is it not U.S doctrine that WMD are responded to by WMD?
posted by stchang at 2:19 PM on October 12, 2001


BTW, lizs...

There are relatively few cases of public manipulation by the gov't that involve circumstances where the public is aware of a truth besides the one manipulatively fed to them. I'd like to think that we are not stupid, just radically ill-informed.

Our leaders are ordering attacks that will kill human beings in our name and there is nothing (imho) at all innapropriate about any degree of questioning that a citizen of the US feels s/he wants to pursue in any public forum w/r/t to gov't actions. There are people dying by our hands right now. Read _A People's History of the United States of America_ (Zinn) if you'd like to read about scores of cases of the US Government manipulating citizens during wartime to further elitist ends.

Or give a listen to Fugazi's "Small Pox Champion."

If I felt that our government had shown itself to be trustworthy in the past I might have less of an opinion on this issue, but the fact is that we have been lead by deceptive, duplicitous individuals who govern for their own advantage for more years since the founding of our country than not. Hopefully we will rise to the occasion, but we have to look out for government wrongdoing ourselves -- isn't that our civic duty?
posted by n9 at 2:21 PM on October 12, 2001


-if the government tells us to be careful, we fear manipulation for the purpose of restricting freedoms...
-if the government tells us that a higher-than-normal incidence of a rare disease is un-related and un-intentional, coincidence, we won't believe them.
-If we are told that they haven't a clue what is going on we lose confidence.
-If we are told they Do know what is going on--yet shit still happens...we lose confidence/trust.
-- [ insert winning situation here that makes everyone feel good. ]

ideas?
posted by th3ph17 at 2:44 PM on October 12, 2001


Don't want to fuel panic but there was an interesting Guardian article today which publishes a 1950s government report into how a biological attack would play out in London.

In the 50s and 60s, British government scientists carried out secret trials to find out the likely effects of a biological attack.
posted by laukf at 3:03 PM on October 12, 2001


thank you th3ph17 - i think you articulated my point better than i did
posted by lizs at 3:21 PM on October 12, 2001


th3ph17: -insert winning situation here:

Our leadership works as hard as they can toward well-informed and honest goals with the objective of protecting our country and everything it stands for. The press works as hard as they can toward informing the public as to what is occuring without bias. The public work as hard as they can to make sure the leadership is doing the right thing by them while living righteous lives unafraid to speak their minds but with total respect for all people.
posted by n9 at 3:41 PM on October 12, 2001


I'm not looking for the government to make me "feel good."

There's a reason why the constitution contains things that tie the hands of the FBI. Mr Ashcroft is trying to make us forget those things, or he doesn't understand them, or he thinks the 4th amendment is a bad idea.

Mr Ashcroft is trying to get legislation passed. Congress was giving him grief about the unconstitutionality of what he wanted.

I don't hear the president or anyone else in government saying these sorts of things. Everyone else seems to be reassuring us. Mr Ashcroft keeps talking about all the "tools" he needs. Well the tools are really holes in the constitution. A constitution he swore, under oath, to defend and uphold.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:55 PM on October 12, 2001


lizs: Your lengthy post was excellent. Ashcroft & others are not trying to "manipulate" the public, nor are they trying to quash civil liberties and other freedoms for the sheer joy of it. To those who are skeptical because an "alert" was issued, with no details: perhaps because the administration received a *credible* but non-specific threat from a source deemed reliable. Nothing more, nothing less. How can that be misinterpreted? For instance, suppose a letter from OBL or one of his deputies turned up at DoJ; it says, "We will make you pay, and it will be very soon. You will not survive the week." I mean, that's overly simplistic, but if something like that were to occur, how would YOU handle it? Say nothing, and then if an attack happens, you'd be crucified for not "warning" people. And you can't give specifics in advance because there ARE NO specifics.
posted by davidmsc at 3:58 PM on October 12, 2001


davidmc --

"Ashcroft & others are not trying to "manipulate" the public, nor are they trying to quash civil liberties and other freedoms for the sheer joy of it."

How can you possibly say this or know this? Why would you assert as truth something that you can not know?

You then tag this assumption with a fictional scenario.

If something like this happened I would do everything I could within the law and according to the trust of the people that I work for me to deal with the threats.

Changing the rules of law enforcement when it suits you (terrorists or no) is facist. If we wish to protect the American way we must maintain the American way. If we die before we give up our ideals we will join the ranks of the great patriots who have done likewise. If we loose our rights to live and die in a police state we will have failed. I have horrible visions of the film Brazil when I think about the latter scenario.
posted by n9 at 5:02 PM on October 12, 2001


It would be very easy for Mr Ashcroft to come out and tell us that they have no credible evidence attacks are near.

Unless, say, he has credible evidence attacks are near.

I'm not sure what you conspiracy theorists are so worked up about. Even if your fears were 100% true, it's obvious from this thread that the public is on to him and his sinister little game, the media is on to him, and Congress is on to him. So we don't have much to worry about, do we?

How can you possibly say this or know this? Why would you assert as truth something that you can not know?

One could pose that question to the people on your side in this thread just as well.
posted by aaron at 10:28 PM on October 12, 2001



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