Chief Bratton's Terror Alert

Beware of possible Al Qaeda attack just before the election

Police Chief William Bratton added fuel to speculation he's aiming for head of Homeland Security or the FBI if Barack Obama wins the presidency by authoring an opinion piece in the New York Daily News warning of a possible terrorist attack by Al Qaeda just before the Nov. 4 presidential election.

Rumors have been rampant for months that the chief -- far and away the most popular political figure in L.A. with violent crime down sharply on his watch -- is looking for new challenges and is aiming for a top law enforcement post if Obama wins.

That his article was published in New York rather than L.A. is also interesting both in terms of the chief's ambition and the state of the press here.

The article, written with R.P. Eddy of the Manhattan Institute, outlines the background of Osama Bin Laden past attacks aimed at influencing elections in Spain and in the United States both with bombings and propaganda.

Bratton theorizes that U.S. economic collapse makes financial institutions particularly likely targets for their visibility and the impact on the American psyche and urges police across the country to step up security.

"Preparations to prevent car- or truck-borne bombs should be enhanced and searches of building entrants should be increased, and such searches should be random or based on behavioral recognition," the article says.

The goal would be to further damage the economy and undermine support for Barack Obama. Bin Laden, the article says, has benefited greatly by the Bush Administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the terrorist leader would welcome John McCain's continuation of that policy while Obama has promised to get out of Iraq as fast as possible.

"Put simply: Bin Laden probably realizes it could become markedly more difficult to paint the United States as the "Great Satan" with a new President who is admired internationally," the article concludes.

"The remaining 14 days before the elections should be seen as a time of high threat, and state and local police should be on high alert. With so much at stake in these elections, Bin Laden will probably attempt to make his opinion count."

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