Given that a couple of weeks have passed, lets look back at the terrorist alert of Aug. 1st.
The alert was based on pictures and floorplans of NYC financial institutions discovered in a computer belonging to an Al Qaeda member. But: all the documents were more than three years old, predating 9/11, and only one of them had even been viewed recently. (source)
This is incredibly flimsy evidence to base a terror alert on. But nevertheless, this is what the administration did.
It seems difficult to ignore the timing of this: Aug 1st, the day after the Democratic Convention ended. It seems difficult to ignore the politicized way in which this was done, with Ridge mixing alert warnings with paens to the President's role in the war on terror. It seems difficult also to ignore that most of the measures taken to protect NYC - tunnels closed, streets cordoned off - are gone by now, two weeks later.
It should be noted than in an effort to justify its actions after August 1st, the administration unmasked our mole in Al Qaeda, hurting our ability to infiltrate the organization.
I don't mean to suggest that this was a purely political action. I do mean to suggest that it was handled in the incompetent and blatantly politicized way thats typical of this administration.