by Bill Katovsky
You believe in synchronicity? That certain coincidences have a meaningful relationship? Two days after President Bush's watch was supposedly swiped by an Albanian fingersmith, ABC News reported that the FBI's terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 500,000 names.
Of course, these names are all classified, and of course, many innocent names are also on no-fly lists because they share the same names as potential "evil-doers." (It must be a bummer to fly if your first name is Muhammed -- which is now the world's most popular name for newborns.)
White House press secretary Tony Snow emphatically denied that the missing watch had anything to do with a quick-fingered thief. Now there's several ways to spin this spin.
Albania is one of the few countries on this planet that would agree to give Bush a hero's welcome. With NATO and UN peacekeeping troops keeping the fragile peace there, it's been looked upon as a bastion of freedom and democracy, a success story right? (Don't tell the unhappy Serb minority this.) Plus, it's supposedly wiped clean of ties to terrorism.
Yet, there are indeed terrorist links between Albania and the U.S. Consider the recent Fort Dix terror plot. Here's Media Matters' take on the subject: "One of the suspects, Agron Abdullahu, who did come to the United States through the Kosovo refugee program,has been arraigned on the lesser charge of "aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in obtaining weapons. The three other individuals of Albanian descent who were arrested in the case -- Dritan, Shain, and Eljvir Duka -- are brothers, described in a May 10 Washington Post article as 'living in America illegally, having entered two decades ago on now-expired visas.'"
So while the Bush-Cheney-Gonzales gulag squad continues to trample on the Constitution while it hunts down over a half million suspected terrorists in this country, it wouldn't take a PR genius to want to avoid the impression that the president was a mark in Albania.
I've watched the Albanian video several times, and unless George Bush was schooled in now-you-see-it-now-you-don'ts by magician David Blaine, that watch did not find its way in the President's pocket.
The missing watch contretemps is like a pathetic parody of the Bush administration's stonewalling on the missing weapons of mass destruction. This is a White House that has perfected the art of lying. So why not tell a fib about a fobless timepiece?
Next to the shock ending of The Sopranos' season's finale, it's been the most talked about "news" event of the past few days. Like the scene in the New Jersey diner that has been endlessly scrutinized to determine if Tony and his family will be whacked (I think not), the video and theories surrounding the Albanian meet'n'greet have been worked over by the media with CSI-like diligence.
Predictably, Bush went into instant attack default mode because his integrity and honesty were being questioned.
"I have never seen such a ludicrous story," Bush said of the media's coverage. "Unbelievable, " he added. He then rolled up his sleeve to show photographers in the Oval Office that he was wearing the watch. (It would be appropriate if the watch Bush defiantly showed to photographers were one of those Tricky Dick watches from the 70s.)
(But how do we know it's the same watch? And what kind is it? Perhaps someone here on the Huffpost can help out.) Wouldn't it be sublime if the pilfered watch somehow showed up on eBay, and was bearing an inscription, "To my darling husband. Love Laura."
So two unknown knowns are now knowingly entwined: the mystery of The Decider's watch and the mystery of who is on the terrorist watch list.
The only watch to receive this much attention was the one that Osama Bin Laden was wearing in his 2003 videos. It was a Timex Ironman. Some NSA analysts believed that it was sending a hidden code to Al Qaeda operatives. This is the same NSA now keeping tabs on all those 500,000 terrorists.