In recent weeks, officials from the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force have briefed security officials of top Wall Street firms about the existence of a Yemen-based Al Qaeda plot to attack major banks and investment houses — possibly targeting individual high-ranking executives of Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays, among others.
The move follows months of infighting among national security officials since the initial discovery of the planned attacks. While some experts see the plot as an attempt to further disrupt US and world financial markets, many see it as a gesture intended to be a first step toward a dialogue and perhaps reconciliation with the West.
“Clearly, it is not unreasonable to interpret this as a ‘peace offering’ aimed at what little is left of the American middle class,” according to Newton Toomey, professor of 21st Century Financial Terrorism at Pueblo State University. “It may very well be their way of saying to the average taxpayer and/or homeowner, ‘we understand and we’re with you’ — after all, who better to understand the prospect of living in caves while ducking bill collectors?”
House Speaker John Boehner, speaking on condition of anonymity after being briefed on the situation by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano late last night, applauded the decision to “err on the side of caution and presume the worst possible motives” in responding to any threat. “While I could never say this on the record, I applaud the courage shown by the Administration in their handling of this situation. In the wake of the financial meltdown, the subsequent taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout and the millions of resulting foreclosures, it would have been easy to do the ‘popular thing’ and allow events to unfold in due course without interference,” the visibly concerned Boehner told an Al Jazeera reporter posing as a tanning booth technician, adding, “With the Republican Party facing its most crucial election in decades, I am personally elated that Wall Street executives will be kept safe. I only hope the same can be said about our other big donors.”
While officials from the NYPD, FBI and Homeland Security declined to comment about the recent briefings, the agencies released a joint statement to the public, which read in part:
“…There is no cause for alarm. The plots were discovered in their infancy. As has always been the case, at moments like this we are all Americans — regardless of the economic conditions or what party is in power, absolutely no stone will be left unturned and absolutely no taxpayer expense will be spared in the protection of our largest banks and their top executives…”
Overnight tracking polls indicate that since information on the plot was made public, Osama bin Laden’s popularity has surged — particularly among independent voters and those who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters. If the 2012 Presidential election were held today, polls indicate that in a three-way race, the man who currently tops the United States’ ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ list would finish second, anywhere from 4-6 points behind President Obama and 6-14 points ahead of the three Republican front-runners.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could not be reached for comment, but a staff member who identified himself only as “Jeff W.” told reporters that when briefed on the Yemen-based threat, Ms. Palin responded, “Who?? WTF.”