Thursday, November 05, 2015

Extrapolating the dots

If the information trickle around the Russian passenger plane crash in Egypt is not generating some serious questions for the media and security officials, it should.

The "respectable" media has been locked into the "here's what we know" mentality. This forbids the type of probabilistic judgment involved in noting it was a Russian flight originating in a region where ISIS has a potent affiliate while Russia is engaged in a war of choice in the Middle East -- hence a terrorist attack had to be one of the possibilities.

Meanwhile, intelligence agencies had apparently come to that conclusion from the start, but for whatever reason, decided to wait a few days until saying so even with the associated risk to flights still present.

And then there's that ISIS affiliate itself, whose name change seems to have disrupted a general understanding of its capacity. Before it was called Sinai Province, it was Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, and while Vox's Zach Beauchamp states it --

in the past, principally focused on taking and holding territory in the Middle East rather than executing dramatic transnational terrorist attacks.

in fact, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis had conducted several brazen attacks in Israel. It doesn't help that Russia and Egypt both have extraordinary incentives to obscure the causes of the crash.

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