Democratic Underground

Tom Ridge: Nostradamus Prophecies "Chilling, Compelling" Basis for Increased Terror Alert Level

August 5, 2004
Satire by David Albrecht

WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge today defended the Bush administration's decision to rely on the prophetic writings of 16th-Century astrologer and self-proclaimed seer Nostradamus to increase terror alert levels in New York, Newark and Washington, DC.

"We found compelling evidence that terrorists intend to strike at America's financial infrastructure, and we took action on that evidence," he stated.

Secretary Ridge cited a number of specific passages, in particular one cryptic message dating from September, 1545, as indicative of al Qaeda's focus on the American banking system.

After lighting several large candles, donning a medieval scholar's robes and cap and dimming the lights in the conference room where reporters waited, Ridge read from a sheet of parchment, noting that:

"The Eastern worm gnaws not the shining hoard,
But thwarted turns instead to lightning's power
And boldly daubs with fire all held within
The proud, envenomed miser's tower"

"We are confident as to the interpretation of this information," Ridge noted.

"The 'Eastern worm' mentioned here is clearly a reference to al Qaeda and their allies. We are also confident that, thwarted by security measures already in place, these terrorists are now attempting some sort of cyber-attack - hence the reference to 'lightning's power.' It could also potentially refer to some sort of an attack on Fort Knox, just like James Bond and British intelligence thwarted back in 1964, but we're still working on confirming that possibility."

DHS and White House staffers emphasized that the prophecies of Nostradamus (1503-1566) were only one element in a comprehensive intelligence-gathering program.

"We're getting input from many areas," said Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

"These include the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the mysterious lines of Nazca in Peru, and the mathematical ratios displayed by the Great Pyramids height and sides."

McClellan then excused himself early from the briefing, after blowing a cloud of powder derived from the mysterious black lotus flower through a small papyrus tube at the assembled members of the press.

Some reacted with anger to suggestions that the Nostradamic Threat Matrix, as staffers call it, is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

"If you're suggesting that certain sources of intelligence should not be considered, that we should arbitrarily rule out entire huge areas of inquiry because they don't fit your preconceived notions of intelligence, I just, I can't agree with that stance," stated White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

Card emphasized that top-secret intercepts from Pakistani intelligence, which he could not reveal in detail, support the NTM project.

Pressed by veteran reporter Helen Thomas, Card exclaimed, "There are mysteries and powers you can't even dream of, fool!" before vanishing into a rotating bookcase in the wall of his office.

Homeland Security personnel had no immediate comment on new plans to boost domestic airline and shipping security procedures - at least, not by name. An unwillingness to reveal specific security precautions remains a concern with DHS.

However, some senior officials speaking off the record did emphasize that once cooled with a baboon's blood, the charm would be both firm and good.

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