US Extends Most Embassy Closures Until August 10
The latest subjunctive paraphrase, just released by the US State Department: "Please don't panic... well, actually panic just a little bit, but thanks to the NSA's pervasive snooping activity, in retrospect there will have been no need to panic, as any terror threats will have been promptly eliminated (except for those that sneak through the NSA's dragnet like the Boston bombing of course). So all is well... but not really, which is why we are extending embassy closures for a little more, due to highly specific unspecified threats which we can't reveal. Just know the threats are there. But thanks to the NSA, there is nothing to worry about. Unless there is."
The previous can be found here.
The literal release:
Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts.
This is not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including local employees and visitors to our facilities.
Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis are instructed to close for normal operations Monday, August 5 through Saturday, August 10.
The following posts that are normally open on Sunday, but were closed on Sunday, August 4, are authorized to reopen for normal operations on August 5: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil.
The U.S. State Department said Sunday that it has extended embassy and consulate closures in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis. The posts are instructed to close for normal operations Monday through Saturday, the State Department said.
"This is not an indication of a new threat stream," the State Department said, "merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including local employees and visitors to our facilities."
An intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives in the last several days raised alarm bells that led to the closing of embassies and consulates Sunday across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN has learned.
CNN has agreed to a request from an Obama administration official not to publish or broadcast additional details because of the sensitivity of the information.
Several U.S. officials also emphasized they have been watching growing threats emerging from Yemen for weeks.
Those threats, combined with the coming end of the month of Ramadan, plus the concern over several major prison breaks in the region, all contributed to the U.S. decision to shut down diplomatic installations.
The shuttering of 22 U.S. embassies and consulates for the day Sunday amid fears of an al Qaeda attack is an unprecedented move.
"We're doing what is necessary to protect our people," Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.
The closures stretch across a swath of North Africa and the Middle East, from Mauritania to Oman. Bangladesh and Afghanistan, both majority Muslim nations, also are affected.
The shutdowns could extend beyond Sunday, a senior State Department official said. A U.S. global travel alert is also in place.
As White House and national security officials met to discuss the threat and U.S. military forces in the Middle East were put on a higher state of alert, Interpol warned that al Qaeda has been tied to prison breaks in the region that led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals.
It's unclear what locations are targeted by the apparent terror plot, U.S. lawmakers said Sunday.
"I think we know a lot more about the when than the where. And you can tell that from the breadth of the closures across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula," Schiff said. "But the when was very specific in terms of a Sunday. Obviously, that may continue and the closures may continue. The travel warning is more extensive. But this is not the usual kind of chatter, not the more generalized 'death to the Americans' or 'death to great Satan.' "
"Death to great Satan." Really?
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