As tensions flare abroad, elected leaders in the United States want to be seen as doing something.
In the days since Soleimani’s death, other major cities have also promised greater vigilance, more police on the streets, and closer cooperation with state and federal authorities based on vague intelligence that tells us simply that Iran is angry.
In the years after 9/11, Republicans capitalized politically on the public’s fears, and Democrats ever since have been eager to show commanding leadership.
The sheer volume of chatter and the multiplicity of leads produce what’s known in the homeland-security world as intelligence soup.
These shifts were based on intelligence, much of it undisclosed, that was publicly presented as credible but not specific.

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