While it is true that Al Qaeda plans attacks for years before carrying them out, there's no indication that they have ANY inkling of something imminent. Which means to me that the only thing they should be doing is beefing up security on those targets. Publicizing the new intelligence can only have one purpose -- to make political points.
Hell, CNN had one of their call in polls yesterday with the question "If you worked in one of the buildings targeted by Al Qaeda, would you go to work on Monday?" -- as though the new information that came to light meant there was some tangible threat.
I've no doubt that there are a lot of people in the world that would love to see harm done to Americans. Some of them might even actually be willing to do it. But this whole "War On Terror" is starting to seem like the War On Drugs, or the War On Poverty -- wars that the people who fight them don't really want to win, because they'd be out of a job. What Bush wants to do is to keep the US on a permanent war footing, with a terrorized populace.
What SHOULD be done is police and intelligence work. We have some idea who the big players are; we can go after them with stealth and cunning. Sending armies after them clearly hasn't worked. Above all, the people working to foil terrorists should STFU and do their job. All this continual exaggeration of threats and fear-mongering profits no one EXCEPT George W Bush and his cronies.
I know it's not fashionable to remember the past, but Europe has been the scene of many high profile terrorist attacks for nearly 40 years. As recently as 1999 when I was in Paris there were almost no trash cans in Paris, because terrorists used them to conceal bombs. The difference between the European countries and the US is that in Europe they just DEALT. They did what they could to catch the people causing the problems, and secure their countries, but then life went on, with greater attention to public security. That didn't prevent the train bombing in Spain, but the fact is, you can't prevent every attack. Terrorist attacks are unfortunately a fact of life, like tornadoes and earthquakes. You can minimize harm but you can't prevent all of them.
If Al Qaeda or whomever is such a huge threat, why haven't there been more attacks on American soil? If there are legions of shadowy minions that hate America, they sure don't seem to work very hard. There are so many really simple things they could be doing to constantly harry the US, and they don't do them. Why aren't they, as a hypothetical example, just pulling into Times Square on a friday night and mowing down the crowd with Uzis? Why aren't they setting fires in buildings? Why aren't they dropping satchel charges into transformer arrays at power stations from private airplanes?
I think the reason that we haven't been hit first is that there just aren't enough people willing to put their lives on the line to fuck with us. The whole terrorism thing is George W. Bush's hobby horse, that he's going to try and ride back into the White House.