Monday, August 14, 2006


Details are still slowly coming to light regarding the plot to blow up planes flying from England to the U.S., but one thing that's clear is that pretty much all the legwork involved in breaking this thing was handled by Britain's MI6, while American intelligence agencies pretty much stood around in the background.

As a James Bond fan, this seems about right to me. In the Bond pictures, Brithish intelligence is responsible for foiling pretty much every world-domination plot you can think of. America is represented, when it's there at all, by CIA flunkie Felix Leiter, who is always played by somebody like Jack Lord or David Hedison--TV actors, bland and uninteresting, as opposed to the big-time movie stars playing Bond.

(Trivia buffs could, of course, point out that in the 1983 Bond picture Never Say Never Again, Leiter was played by Bernie Casey, who could give Sean Connery a run for his money in the coolness department. I would only respond that NSNA is a non-canon Bond picture, that it's still a tiny, insignificant part--and that I'm getting kind of off-topic here. Sorry.)

My initial skepticism about the terrorist plot story stemmed, in no small part, from the fact that the story broke in the U.S. via a press conference headed by Homeland Security honcho Michael Chertoff. That's right, the same Michael Chertoff who couldn't figure out people were dying in the Superdome in the wake of Katrina, even though every news organization was telling the story. Suddenly this guy is busting up terrorist cells?

Well, no, and no one ever said he did. Clearly, the Bushinistas used Chertoff to run the press conference in an attempt to make him look competent as the one year anniversary of Katrina approaches. Clearly we were supposed to assume if Chertoff is the head of Homeland Security, and he's talking about foiling terrorist plots, he must have had something to do with it. Heroism by association.

Just like Felix Leiter.