Chuck Schumer's jaws
According to the old Washington joke, the most dangerous place in America is anywhere between New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and a TV camera. But on May 2, the day after a failed terrorist car-bombing in Times Square, the safest place in America was between Schumer and any hard facts about what had actually happened.
Nevertheless, there he was, confidently holding forth live on CNN. According to Schumer, “the odds are quite high” that the attempted mass murder was the work of “a lone wolf.”
“Could it have been connected to some terrorist organization? Possibly. Probably not,” New York’s senior senator added. U.S. intelligence had heard no ominous "chatter on the line," Schumer observed, suggesting “that this was not part of any terrorist plot by al Qaeda or any known terrorist organization."
As we all know now, Schumer was well wide of the truth. To be sure, he hedged his pronouncements with liberal use of “this is preliminary” and “the investigation isn’t concluded.” He was reflecting briefings from the FBI and New York police, according to a spokesman. But, basically, whatever it was based on, his version of events has proven completely wrong. The alleged perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, has confessed to training at a terrorist center of some kind in Pakistan. And, as a federal official told The Post yesterday, “a leading theory” of the case is that it was an international plot hatched by the Pakistani Taliban, a “known” terrorist group if there ever was one. It’s not as if there were no “signs” of an Islamist terror connection as of the time Schumer spoke. In fact, several hours earlier, the Pakistani Taliban had posted a video claiming credit for what it mistakenly assumed had been a successful “recent attack in the USA.”
For the life of me, I cannot understand why politicians rush to judgment like this.
Yes, it’s hard for any elected official to keep his mouth shut in a crisis. The urge to reassure the public is powerful, especially during tourist season. But have Schumer and others learned nothing from the mayor of Amity in Jaws?
It’s just a bad idea to assess such an inherently murky situation publicly before you really know what you’re talking about. Until you have the facts, the most dangerous place for you to be is in front of a camera, saying almost anything except “I don’t know.”
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