The Times Can't Shake Its Skepticism over Terror Plots

Thursday'sTimes led with the evolving story on the foiled terrorist plot in Germany, a plot whose targets apparently included Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport.

Here's the straightforward lead to Thursday's updated online version of the paper's top hard-copy story, written by Mark Landler and Katrin Bennhold:

"German investigators were searching today for about a dozen more suspects in connection with a foiled terrorist attack on German and American targets by Islamic militants, feeding a heated debate in Germany about whether security services should be given more surveillance powers."

But this being the Times, it just couldn't resist flashing some of itstypical skepticism about the validity of the threat (Slate's "Today's Papers" column claimed "only the NYT voices much skepticism about the seriousness of the threat.")

"Although officials spoke with confidence of the attack's imminence and seriousness, they did not make fully clear the basis of their assertions. Europe has been the site of a number of devastating terrorist plots, but some have turned out later to be less than met the eye when announced.

"If the announced details hold up under scrutiny, it means that Germany, like Britain, has become a target for sophisticated homegrown terrorism, and the case will fan the debate over the balance between civil liberties and public security. Previous German plots have been far smaller, masterminded by foreigners, or focused outside of Germany, like the 9/11 attacks, which were hatched in Hamburg."