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Reply #49: FBI agents probably don't follow "common publishing practice" [View All]

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scottxyz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-04 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
49. FBI agents probably don't follow "common publishing practice"
Edited on Sun Apr-11-04 12:47 AM by scottxyz
Notice that some diction here is that stiff, trying-to-sound-formal police-style: missing articles, elisions, etc.

I doubt the FBI pays much attention to that rule about spelling out numbers ten and under.

= = =

On the other hand, the Arabic names seem to be transliterated very consistently, and slightly differently than what we see in the press. I would guess this to be a more "academic" transliteration of Arabic names (bin Ladin instead of Laden).

Apostrophes in Arabic names seem to be carefully placed also.

It's also obviously in Microsoft Word, with that ugly Arial knockoff of Helvetica. For what that's worth. So the FBI uses Windows.

It would be hard to get a computer to automatically spell out numbers 1 - 10 as "one" to "ten" to conform to "publishers' style". 99% of people who know how to put page numbers into footers click on that little "#" icon and let it display the correct number at the bottom of each page.

More likely, if they wanted to convey maximum information (perhaps for filing or legal purposes) about page numbering they could have numbered:

1 of 11
2 of 11

in the footer. The "11" part might have to be manually updated if the document grew or shrank - I don't remember if MS-Word lets you put in a symbol that means "total number of pages in this document".

= = =

The layout seems to be a full-width paragraph starting with itals giving a summary - and then usually an indented paragraph giving details.

In terms of layout (and semantics) the second page we got could be the "real" "page 2" - it's slightly indented, and it seems to offer details about the full-width paragraph at the bottom of "page 1".

There are three elements of the sentence at the top of "page 2" which could semantically refer back to the last sentence at the bottom of "page 1":

- "Nevertheless" (ie, despite having said that we couldn't corroborate the recently reported threat reporting)

- "FBI information" (ie, as opposed to info from the redacted, presumably foreign, "service")

- "since that time" (ie, since 1988)

= = =

My hunch - these are the only two pages. And they're damning enough.

Note in particular the use of the present tense and words like "recent" when talking about threats (in contradistinction to Condi's claim that the document was "historical"), the specificity of the threats "hijacking", "New York", "Washington", "buildings" all mentioned (in contradistinction to Condi's claim that "we didn't know where, when, or how" - actually the only thing they didn't know was when), and then notice the title itself, which any reasonable person would expect their President to construe as a strong warning (again, this contradicts Condi, who said it was "not a warning").

= = =

I don't know how intelligence summaries like this are usually written (and it would great to have a bunch of them to compare it to!) but I bet this is just how the intel services would write when they think an attack is likely.

How much stronger could they have said it?

"Probability of Terrorism 90% over the next 30 days"?

That kind of quantitative stuff would be fine for Tom Ridge to tease the citizens with, but intel people wouldn't talk that way.

I doubt anyone in the FBI would put their career on the line and say "An Attack is Certain" or "An Attack is Coming" and then look like Chicken Little in case nothing ends up happening.

This is worded about as strongly as one would expect. "Bin Laden Determined to Strike In the U.S." is dry and specific and to the point and pretty throat-grabbing and thoroughly damning enough.

Bush could be impeached over this. It doesn't have to be LIHOP - it could just be dyslexia. Whatever.

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