The JFK Pipeline "Plot": Another "Chilling" Example of Political and Media Hyperbole

The JFK pipeline plot appears to be the work of yet another gang that couldn't jihad straight.

Its ring leader made a living exporting broken air-conditioner parts to Guyana. Talk about your boom market! Where can I buy stock?

There was no set plan. There was no financing. They didn't have any explosives -- and yet government officials were quoted calling the amorphous plot "one of the most chilling plots imaginable" that almost "resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths, and destruction." And people wonder why the public has become cynical about how the war on terror is being used for political purposes.

What's more, the wave of red alert press coverage turns out to have been based on a misunderstanding of how jet fuel pipelines work. "Such an attack would have crippled America's economy," wailed AP's Adam Goldman. And people wonder why the public has become cynical about how the media uses the war on terror to boost their ratings and circulation.

We've been down this road before, with the Fort Dix Six. We are told again and again that if we don't fight "them" over there, we'll have to fight "them" over here -- perhaps at Circuit City, where all new jihadists take their holy war recruitment tapes to be burned onto a DVD.

And we traveled a similar path with that supposedly terrifying plot to bring down the Sears Tower that was hatched by the "Seas of David" nut jobs down in Liberty City, Florida and egged on by the FBI. These things always seem to follow a pattern: Start with a big media splash: "We got the bad guys! We saved the country!" Then it slowly comes out that the terrorists might not have been so terrifying. Indeed, they are boobs that go to Circuit City to get their jihadist recruitment video burned onto DVD, or they are low-level criminals with delusions of grandeur, goaded into grander fantasies and bigger targets by informants who are getting paid or getting their sentences reduced by the FBI if they deliver.

Then we have fear-mongering presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani wasting no time laying the JFK plot and the Fort Dix plot at the feet of "Islamic terrorists" -- raising the specter of Osama bin Laden.

It's almost comical how Giuliani keeps trying to present himself as a national security expert. Let's not forget: this is the guy who strongly backed the scandal-plagued Bernie Kerik to be in charge of Homeland Security. Is that the kind of appointment we can expect from President Giuliani (even saying the words makes me feel less safe)?

Michael Bloomberg, Giuliani's replacement as mayor of New York, took a rightly dismissive approach to the JFK plot hype: "You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life. You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist."

Especially a terrorist like the ones lusting after JFK.