Yesterday Markland pointed out that even on TV the terrorists can’t hit anything worthwhile here in LA, and today life imitates art.. or something. On December 22 some dude at the Pershing Square subway station poured out a vial of Mercury and then called in to report a Mercury leak. This was all caught on video and has just about everyone scratching their heads. It’s true that Mercury is poisonous, but only if swallowed. The 5oz or so that was spilled downtown was likely not enough to do anything other than confusing passing rats or give homeless people something to talk about for a few days. But don’t let that get in the way of the The Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force, who is on the prowl for this guy, and wants to question him for this “unexplained activity.” Even better, no one can agree if this is terrorism or not:
“At this point we are relatively confident that it is not a credible threat,” said L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.
But a joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin released in 2005 warns that terrorists may make calls to test police reactions.
In the case of the spilled mercury, according to the HAZMAT cleanup report read to CNN, law enforcement did not respond for a full eight hours.
Pat D’Amuro, now a CNN analyst, was a top FBI counterterrorism agent. He says it’s premature to rule out terror.
“I’m not saying that in this video these people are terrorists, but there’s some very strange activity that needs to be identified here.”
Shortly after the spill in late December, the sheriff’s department sent out an alert, saying to be on the lookout for a man described as being “white or Middle Eastern,” who is wanted in connection with a “possible act of terror.”
Is it not bad enough that “terrorism” is so vague and loosely defined that now we have to go and make “the act of” something to question. So this guy is wanted for questioning about maybe, possibly doing something is maybe, possibly was some how related to terrorism. And how about that awesome 8 hour response time? 8 freaking hours. I wonder if the crime stats for hazardous liquid spills in downtown went down in 2006? I can hear the dispatch now – “aw nuts, a hazardous liquid spill in downtown? Rats! We’re already at our limit for the year. Hey buddy, it’s the 22nd already, do you think you could wait a week to check into that, it would really be a help for my paperwork. Oh, no? Oh well, ok, send a team down then. You know what, forget it, this isn’t happening on my watch. Joe comes in tomorrow morning, he can deal with it then.” [Thanks Xeni!]