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Is this the Seinfeld administration? - Ed Brock

The latest press conference by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge strongly resembled an episode of "Seinfeld."

It was a press conference about nothing.

Or, was it?

Ridge came out and said something about how the terrorists will be seeking to disrupt our democratic process. He went on to say that he once again had no specific information about this threat and he wasn't even going to raise the terrorist threat level. The rest of the press conference was spent with some mumbo jumbo about what a great job Ridge and his people are doing and how well prepared we are.

Ok, now for the interesting thing that happened behind the scenes.

As a result of all this "chatter" from Al Qaeda terrorist operatives Ridge's department asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to determine what steps would be necessary to delay November's presidential election in the event of a terrorist attack.

That's according to a report on the "Newsweek Periscope" Web site.

Ridge's department cited a letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in which Soaries mentions the suspension of a primary election in New York that occurred in New York on Sept. 11, 2001 by the state's Board of Elections.

According to the Newsweek report, there is no agency with the authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election, but Soaries apparently implored Ridge to seek emergency legislation to give his department the power to do just that. And Homeland Security people apparently told Newsweek that they were taking such drastic proposals seriously as they plan for the possibility of an election-eve or Election Day attack.

Well, maybe I'm just being paranoid. I mean, surely that is something that has to be considered, just in case there is a terrorist attack.

It's just, I don't like having President Bush or any of his people start saying anything about delaying this election. They just don't have my confidence in that matter.

I'll just leave that info lying there for you guys to ponder and see what I'm oh so carefully trying to imply. And now I'll take a moment to pat myself on the back for something.

I refer the reader to my May 18 column "The revealing case of Nicholas Berg." In it I wrote about the possible positive behind the heinous crimes of suspected Jordanian terrorist leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, the man believed to be behind the hideous beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg.

You may want to look up this quote on our Web site.

You see, terrorism is supposed to have a purpose, and Al Qaeda's purpose is far too extreme and unachievable for that group to survive. And Berg's beheading, perhaps, may even lead to a schism between Iraqi insurgents and the foreign instigators like al-Zarqawi who have been whipping up the flames of the rebellion against our occupation.

In this past week, at least one Iraqi vigilante group has threatened Zarqawi's life. The group, calling itself the "Salvation Movement," asked how Zarqawi could use Islam to justify kidnappings and killing innocents.

True, they were mostly mad about Zarqawi's disregard for the life of Iraqi civilians and Zarqawi's threats against new Iraqi Prime Minister Awad Alawi and not the Berg beheading. But my essential point remained valid, so I get a point.

So maybe I'm just being paranoid about my first point on the election terrorist threat, said point being still more like an implication of a growing concern. But I will say that if something just happens to blow up on Nov. 7 I'm going to be very, very curious.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.