As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 


Thursday, August 6

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Chicago Assyrians Protest Iraq Attacks, Official Inaction Mayoral Twist: Alexi Giannoulias For Mayor? »

Federal Government Tue Nov 09 2010

Schakowsky and Jackson Jr. Call For Hearings On Yemen Terrorist Attack

Yesterday Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL-02) sent a letter to the Committee on Homeland Security calling for public hearings of the terrorist attempt to bomb synagogues in Chicago by mailing explosives in printer cartridges from Yemen.

In the letter, Schakowsky and Jackson Jr. argue that there are still lingering questions about the failed attack such as whether the bombs were meant to explode at the synagogues or on the plane or if the whole plan was a "dry run" for a later terrorist attack.

"Clearly, the investigation into these attacks will last for many months. That investigation, will involve sensitive intelligence and security matters that must remain top-secret. In no way should any hearing jeopardize that classified information," they write.

Schakowsky and Jackson Jr. concede in the letter that public hearings would be time consuming but the hearings would also show the public that the government is serious about national security.

UPDATE: USA Today reports that British officials determined that one of the bombs were meant to explode during the plane's flight.

You can read the rest the letter below the fold.

Jackson Schakowsky Homeland Security Letter

GB store

Jeff Smith / November 9, 2010 11:13 PM

As the congresspersons' letter makes clear, it's inaccurate and even misleading to use the phrase "terrorist attempt to bomb synagogues in Chicago" and, in the headline to this post, "terrorist attack," given the lack of information. Two packages were shipped, to nonexistent people, one to a group that moved from the address some time ago, the other to an inactive Orthodox group. So no "synagogues" would have been bombed even if the devices had been operational, delivered (to people who didn't exist), and detonated.

We (the public) haven't been fully told what the contents or capability of the packages was. There doesn't seem to be proof of who shipped them -- one arrestee was let go. So obviously we don't even know the motive. But supposedly investigators on three contents believe that the packages weren't intended to blow up in Chicago.

Further investigation and transparency here is good because the incident, predictably, is being used to justify further security crackdowns, and even drone attacks. And because it involves some shady characters and doesn't seem to really add up. But it helps nothing if it's used just to keep fear whipped up.

I heart lazy terrorists / November 10, 2010 7:45 AM

Yes, I think the burden should be on the individuals from Yemen to update their Yellow Pages so that they can more accurately address the packages that they stuff explosives in- because that is the important thing here.

Forget about the coordinated explosive devices, and especially the one they disarmed minutes before exploding
This wa clearly not an attempt to create terror by bombing either a) a plane in mid-air or b) what was believed to be a house of religious worship.

And as the two congressman state, it is important to "show" the public that the government is protecting its citizens.

What a joke / November 10, 2010 10:56 AM

Of course, when Al Qaida is claiming responsibility, what would their public relations hearing actually do?

Shouldn't it concern Chicagoans that these two elected officials are looking like keystone cops on this?

To Jeff Smith:

Al Qaida statement: “We say to Obama: we planned three attacks targeting your planes within the past year, and we shall continue, Allah-willing."

"We say to the Saudis... these devices were headed to Jewish Zionist temples, but you betrayed us and interfered to protect them"

You may want to get your head out of the sand.

GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15