This is what I think happened with the terror information that was collected. They found a lot of pictures of places, but did not collect information about the files (creation date, modified date, updated date). They passed that information up the chain of command and the HSD reacted quickly and efficiently, this was a shoot first ask questions later type of operation. The reason why the HSD reacted so quickly and so strongly is because they saw what can happen when threats are ignored (WTC).
While the may have over reacted, they should still be commended for doing their job to the best of their ability, instead the media is downplaying the quality of the information.
"One official said the buildings were "vaguely referenced" in a "limited and generic way" -- for example, a single mention or a download of an Internet photo."
"There was no indication, the officials said, that these sites had been cased, although local and state officials and security professionals at those buildings have been informed."
The headline provides the clearest example:
New terror warning based on pre-9/11 al Qaeda surveillance
But data updated as recently as January, officials say
What bothers me the most is that they just found pictures, diagrams, and information about the movement of traffic and people, and people like Dean are saying politics played a role in the release of the information and the raising of the terror level.
First, the decision by the federal government, the Department of Homeland Security, to increase the threat level here in Washington, D.C., from yellow to orange, from elevated to high. What do you make of this?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: It's hard to know what to make. None of us outside the administration have access to the intelligence, which led to this determination.
I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that "I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me," and then out comes Tom Ridge.
It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it.
Here is the actual transcript, it was a little hard for me to find.
Dean might be right, they are playing politics, but if dean is wrong then he is the one playing politics.