Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens – August 2, 2013 UPDATE
The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4. All facilities of the U.S. Consulate General are normally closed to the public on Sundays. The Consulate General is instructing all U.S. government employees not required for ensuring essential building safety and security not to come into Consulate General facilities for afterhours work on Sunday, August 4. The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis.
The above is part of a recent email sent out to everyone on the Jerusalem US Consulate mailing list. Of course anyone need only check the headlines since last Friday to be aware of this. But I'd like to know - is anyone else's Spidey-sense being set off on this one? As an interesting side note, the second line in the email states that regardless of a terror threat the consulate is usually closed for business on Sundays anyway. The same goes for the embassy in Tel Aviv. So it's not so clear why the media keeps mentioning the Israeli locations along with the other middle eastern ones as it appears no special external precautions are really being taken at the moment.
But as far as the other embassies go, this whole thing just doesn't make sense. The warnings are so vague that they essentially amount to, "We're worried that some really bad people are going to do some really bad things really soon." If they don't want to reveal any additional information for security purposes, then why go through the bother of making the whole thing so public in the first place? I'm not so hot at poker, but I imagine I'd feel pretty confident if I was playing at the same table as the federal government. I mean come on people, from an intelligence gathering perspective I think one could go about it much more effectively. Wouldn't it make sense to just close each of these locations individually and contact anyone scheduled to come in that day for a visa, passport, etc. telling them the toilets have all massively overflowed and they'll need to reschedule their appointment? Then in the meantime beef up security in as inconspicuous a manner as possible and play a little game of wait and see. Then when something does pop up maybe you can apprehend a few suspects and garner some information out of them? I'll admit I've never worked for an intelligence agency like the CIA or the like, but even an amateur like me has to venture a guess that my plan is at least a slightly more sound alternative to just broadcasting everything you currently know to the world via CNN. Maybe they are banking on the hope that conservative-minded Muslim extremists prefer not to monitor the mainstream media due to the liberal bias.
And does the United States not feel at least slightly embarrassed that the best they can offer is a warning that a Al Qaeda might commit a terrorist attack somewhere in the Middle East, but they aren't sure where or when or against whom? And then again, maybe there won't be any attacks at all - they're not quite sure about it either way. Heck, even if something is supposed to happen they're not even 100% sure it's going to be at an embassy. It could even be an airbase, plane or a train (what... no automobiles?) So essentially what they are telling us is that it's just another normal day in the Middle East, eh fellas? And these crackpot intelligence reports are supposed to be what reassures us here in Israel when Obama tells us not to worry about Iran getting a nuke because they'll for sure find out about it in enough time to stop it? Do Iraqi WMD's ring a bell to anyone?
Some talkbalkers are spawning conspiracy theories that the whole thing is a ploy to distract the American public from the major scandals currently hitting Obama one after the other about how the federal government snoops on everything from your tax reports to your Facebook "Likes" and just about anything in between. Perhaps vague, but oh so deadly, threats such as these are even supposed to garner up support from the public and coax them into giving Obama carte blanche to peruse their Gmail. After Edward Snowden I supposed I can believe anything at this point. However, were these theories proven to be true I'd actually be a bit disappointed. Orwell's Big Brother and Inner Party had far more oppressive and invasive control over their subjects and yet even half the stuff they came up with had more substance and logic to it than what we are now currently expected to swallow.
So if you too feel that something doesn't quite smell right with this situation perhaps we should all follow our nose on this one. Maybe it's not for nothing that the American president's initials are B.O.