Was There An Attempted Somali Terrorist Attack at Barack Obama’s Inauguration?

Most probably not. But this opening graf from LA Times reporter Josh Meyer makes it seem like U.S. counter-terrorism officials were taking the threat — one of “of limited specificity and uncertain credibility” — seriously enough to prepare for the possibility.

The swearing-in of Barack Obama came off without a security-related hitch Tuesday, but underneath the calm veneer, federal authorities were intensively investigating a report that a group of Somalia-based militants wanted to launch some kind of inauguration-related attack.

The group, evidently, was the infamous al-Shabaab, a splinter group of the Islamic militants currently en route to taking over Somalia. The rumored potential perpetrators may — or may not — also have had something to do with a naturalized, Minneapolis-based U.S. citizen who may or may not have blown himself up in Somalia this past October.

At the end of his LA Times piece, Meyer admits the vagueness surrounding the threat.

The official said the threat did not specify Washington and could apply to inauguration-related festivities around the country, and that there was no indication that anyone connected with the threat has even tried to enter the United States.

A rumored threat of something, happening somewhere in the country by individuals who have not even entered the country is probably not worthy of insinuating a possible terrorist attack on Obama’s inauguration. But, it’s a testament to the intense security of the inauguration that such a possibility was fully vetted — and anyway, al-Shabaab will pose enough problems for the Obama Administration’s Somalia policy even without concocting far-fetched Inauguration schemes.


(image from flickr user Mrs. Gemstone, under a Creative Commons license)