Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Terror Alert: Terrorists may use Elephants in attack during convention (humor)

Breaking News: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned today that recent intelligence intercepts suggest terrorists may be planning to use African elephants in terrorist attacks against American interests in Rome, Italy timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention in NYC later this month. "We've never seen this level of specificity or quality of intelligence!" said Ridge, who said the intelligence was confirmed by mulitple sources and streams of information. Ridge praised the "great leadership" of the The Great Leader, El Presidente Bush, which Ridge said made the intelligence breakthrough possible. Ridge downplayed rumors that the intelligence might be slightly dated.

"American intelligence has learned that terrorists may be planning to drive African elephants from Africa through Spain, France, and eventually over the alps, and ultimately have them stampede down on Rome, thus surprising Italian anti-terrorism forces that were mainly watching for a terrorist attack by sea." Secretary Ridge said in a press conference this morning. "We have turned over the intelligence to our Italian counterparts, who are taking active steps to avoid any incidents during the Republican National Convention.

Ridge also denied that the use of elephants might in any way be symbolic, given that the Elephant is the animal mascot of the Republician Party, whose convention is later this month. "Terrorists just use whatever means they think might work," Ridge said. Some observers, meanwhile, wonder if the rising and failing intelligence alerts might be aimed at a domestic political agenda, perhaps part of Great Leader Bush's acknowledged political strategy to portray himself as the only candidate who can keep America safe. "It's a subconscious slip by the Republicans to claim elephants might be used in this latest terror alert. While we certainly do have real enemies in the world, thanks to this constant barrage of bogus terror alerts based on ancient intelligence designed to terrorize the American people, this election season everyone knows who the real terrorists are" said former Presidental candidate and firebrand Howard Dean.

Secretary Ridge decided against raising the national terrorist level to "Ernie" from its current level of "Bert," or yellow, except for Italian authorities responsible for anti-Elephant defenses, for whom the terror alert level was specifically raised to the dangerous level of "Ernie" from "Bert."

Italian authorities meanwhile played down the threat of any terrorist attacks involving elephants. "We have known for some time terrorists might try to employ elephants to sack Rome, and we have developed adequate defenses over the centuries. It is still safe to come to Rome during the Republican Convention and enjoy the tourist attractions. Any terrorist attacks are likely to be a Pyrric victory for the terrorists at best, anyhow" said Italian defense authorities Gen. Hannibal and Gen. "Africanus" Scipio.

Secretary Ridge also warned citizens of Spain, France, Austria, and Italy to keep an eye peeled for any suspicious movements by large herds of African elephants destined through their heavily-populated countries, en-route for Italy. "With cooperation of the citizenry of these countries, we think we can detect and prevent any elephant attack, which is another reason why we are coming forward now with this information." Secretary Ridge said.

In the United States, although the intelligence information mentioned Rome, Italy, local authorities nevertheless took no chances setting up roadblocks, closing the Holland and Lincoln tunnels to commercial traffic (at considerable inconveinence to Manhattanites, who rely on commercial vehical traffic for produce), and devising other anti-elephant defenses in response to the latest intelligence.

Controversy continues to swirl over the exact nature and reliability of the "new" intelligence, which some critics within the intelligence establishment claim is actually a few years old despite being confirmed by "multiple intelligence streams."

"They got the intelligence by reading books on Ancient Rome and Carthage in a library and just decided to time the annoucement right before the convention because of Great Leader Bush's attempts to potray himself as the war President," said one intelligence expert who asked to remain anonymous. "The intelligence is one or thousand years old, so it is a little bit dated, although we can't blame Secretary Ridge for taking the precautions in view of how specific the information was" the anonymous intelligence source continued.

American Tourists in Rome, Italy responded to the latest advisory by fleeing the city, while Mahattanites here in the U.S. put up with increased traffic congestion and food shortages in shops. Republicans demanded "death to Al Queda" in response to the latest terrorist warnings. The stock of major defense contractors here in the U.S. rose, reportedly increasing the wealth of the bin Laden family, apparently a major investor in U.S. defense firms.

There is no word on when the specific terror alert affecting Rome, Italy might be lowered back down to "Bert" from the more dangerous "Ernie" level.