Chertoff stokes the FUD flames with “gut feelings” about possible terrorism.

Would somebody please explain to me why the fuck U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff felt the need to imitate “psychic” Sylvia Browne last Tuesday? I’m referring to his claims of a “gut feeling” about possible terror attacks:

“I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk,” Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board in an unusually blunt and frank assessment of America’s terror threat level.

“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” he said of al-Qaida. “We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”

Still, Chertoff said there are not enough indications of an imminent plot to raise the current threat levels nationwide. And he indicated his remarks were based on “a gut feeling” formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaida statements, and intelligence he did not disclose.

There is an assessment “not of a specific threat, but of increased vulnerability,” he added.

In other words, “The Bush administration needs something to distract you people from the fact that it’s run by a bunch of fuck ups and we’ve not trotted out the looming specter of Al Qaeda in awhile so here it is: OOoooOOOoooO! Scary! EVERYBODY PANIC!”

“We could easily be attacked,” Chertoff added. “The intent to attack us remains as strong as it was on Sept. 10, 2001.”

And this is a surprise to… whom, exactly? Could it be that we’re still vulnerable because we’re wasting time and money confiscating any bottle of liquid larger than 3oz at the airport while letting the bomb sitting next to it slip right on through? Could it be that we’re spread too thin fighting an illegitimate war in Iraq that we’ve allowed Al Qaeda to recuperate to almost full strength?  You know, the group of people who are directly responsible for the destruction of the Twin Towers? How many of you remember how on December 14th of 2001 our so-called Commander and Chief vowed to bring in Bin Laden, dead or alive? It’s been almost 6 years since that vow, he only has about a year and a half left before he’s out on his ass. When does he plan to honor that vow? It’s the one promise he’s made that I’d really love to see him keep.

Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest course of action to have Chertoff try and distract the public with vague and highly unspecific gut feelings about terrorism. Both Bush and Chertoff seemed to think so today as both came out to try and downplay the hubbub created by Chertoff’s guts:

But this morning, both President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff attempted to play down the intelligence report. “I wouldn’t put it [the threat] at that level — in my own opinion,” said Chertoff. Bush claimed:

    There is a perception in the coverage that al Qaeda may be as strong today as they were prior to September 11th. That’s simply not the case…because of the actions we’ve taken, al Qaeda is weaker today than they would have been.

So, be scared, but not so scared that you start to remember that it’s Bush’s fault Bin Laden and his band of Merry Men are still out there to begin with. We want you just frightened enough to forget about all the other shit that’s going on, but not too scared that you actually question things.

Bonus Update: Keith Olbermann chimed in on Chertoff’s gut:

And you and your folks there have a different kind of stomach pain, knowing that with a track record that consists largely of two accomplishments — inconveniencing people at airports and scaring them everywhere else — your department doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, and even you, Mr. Chertoff, know it.