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Despite Lacking ‘Specific Information,’ Townsend Claims Al Qaeda May Target 2008 Elections

By Amanda Terkel  

"Despite Lacking ‘Specific Information,’ Townsend Claims Al Qaeda May Target 2008 Elections"

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The 2008 elections are still a year away, but this morning outgoing Homeland Security Adviser Frances Fragos Townsend told CNN that al Qaeda may target the presidential elections. She said that while there is currently no “specific information,” “we know that Al Qaeda views these periods as being a particularly vulnerable period.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/11/townsendattack208.320.240.flv]

In the past, the administration has never let a lack of evidence stop it from baselessly claiming that terrorists are interested in manipulating U.S. elections. Some White House rhetoric preceding the 2006 midterm elections:

And I interpreted this as that the terrorists are actually involved and want to involve themselves in our electoral process, which must mean they want a change. [Vice President Cheney, 10/17/06]

There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election. … They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they’re trying to foment sectarian violence. [President Bush, 10/18/06]

[I]t is possible, although we don’t have a clear pathway into the minds of terrorists, it is possible that they are trying to use violence right now as a way of influencing the elections. [Then-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, 10/19/06]

As 2008 approaches, look out for more claims that voting for progressives would empower the terrorists.

Digg It!

Transcript:

ROBERTS: Let me ask you this question. First of all, you’re leaving with concerns about what might happen here next year. The terrorists could possibly target the U.S. elections. What do you know that we should be worried about?

TOWNSEND: Well, it’s not that we know that there’s a specific threat, John. What we do know is we saw the Madrid train bombings just before the elections in Spain. After Gordon Brown took office, we saw the bombings at Glasgow. So, we know that Al Qaeda views these periods as being a particularly vulnerable period. We don’t have any specific information, but given our experience and what we know, I believe we’ve got a real obligation to prepare for that transition between the election and the inauguration in a special way. This would be the first transfer of presidential power since September the 11th. And so, we’ve already begun the planning process for that.

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