Should credible threats be explained? afterward?

The other day we were treated by the USA to a credible threat which could not be disclosed for security reasons. It was due to the anniversary of 9-11, of course.

I submit that every such claim by authorities should be followed up, after the date has passed or the threat been averted or non-existent. I submit that we have a right to be told, clearly, exactly on what basis we were being told to be afraid.

There is a growing paranoia among some of us (OK, me) that these threats are part of a plan to increase state power: power of incarceration without charge, power of wiretapping without warrants, power of search without probable cause, power of forbidding testimony without explanation, power of blacklisting for air travel without explanation or appeal. (And in Canada, more jails.) We need these powers, says the state, because of all these credible threats.

I had the misfortune to be stranded for a few hours in Atlanta’s airport. This is not a slur on Atlanta; it might be my first choice of airport to change planes in as it is very well laid out, convenient for the traveller.

I noticed two things in Atlanta: first, our (Toronto) message about bags is, do not ever leave anything unattended: it will be taken away and blown up to make sure there is an explosion associated with it. {8;^<} Second, in Atlanta there was a loud public announcement at least every thirty minutes about the current threat level. The threat level was yellow. There is no lower level. This threat is announced over and over and over. It becomes subliminal. Yet people left their bags unattended.

The message seems to be this: be afraid. It isn’t your neighbour, probably, but be afraid.

I think the basis for the threat level should also be published. After the fact if it is so sensitive; maybe we could have a report on last month by the 15th of this one. Day by day. Level by level. Explanation by explanation.

What do you think?

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