GOP Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Tuesday that the Obama administration may have misled the public in maintaining silence about its operation against an al-Qaida plot to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger jet.
"I think we have to find a better way in the future to see or at least do [a review on] how we can tell the public, what we should tell the public," King told Fox News
. He acknowledged that the government is walking a “fine line" in this case, but said that if government officials need to keep a secret, they should "do it in a way not to mislead the public."
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI had issued a bulletin saying there was no credible plan to attack the United States on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden this month. But the White House has acknowledged that it knew that a bomb was being tracked and intercepted early last month.
That damages the agencies’ credibility, law enforcement officials told Fox. The Obama administration finally confirmed the operation Monday.
While there's no "specific evidence" to prove the plot was connected to the anniversary, al-Qaida "does have respect for anniversaries," King said. "I would make the operating assumption that certainly the anniversary was a factor in choosing this time and place."
It’s "always a challenge" for the government to figure out how to alert the public of a threat without jeopardizing the effort to stop it, he said. "Maybe they could have found a better way to express it, and that there was a plot against the U.S. but no threat since we felt we had everything under control."
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