Chatter Boxes

A Thursday morning radio news report that struck me as quite odd was examined further ad nauseam through the day by every media outlet in the country, including by CNN show host Glenn Beck. The sentiments expressed in his monologue that evening echoed my thoughts exactly.

The office of Homeland Security had a “hunch,” went the report, that terrorists might be entering, or, had already entered the U.S. for the purpose of planning a strike. The White House was taking the “hunch” so seriously, the report continued, that a high-level meeting was being convened…the next day. In other words, watch your back while we get around to discussing things…tomorrow.

This is serious business, to be sure, but this latest episode begs the question: where do we draw the line on public “chattering” about intercepted chatter, let alone a “hunch.” Terrorists might be here, or, might be coming? So what else is new?

Don’t get me wrong. I want Homeland Security, the FBI and the CIA to communicate internally on this stuff all day long; and they do so, very effectively. Read George Tenet’s “At the Center of the Storm or Ron Suskind’s “One Percent Doctrine” for more perspective, and what the dedicated men and women of law enforcement do each day to protect you and me.

Beyond that realm, though, we continue to walk, if not cross, a fine line between communicating responsibly and inciting fear; and between staying vigilant and becoming laissez faire.