Just four days before midterm elections, President Obama went before the nation to address fears of suspicious packages that led to an investigation on three continents. He called the packages a “credible threat” that “apparently” contained explosive material.
The concerns began Thursday night in Britain when officials there became concerned about a package from Yemen and bound for Chicago that had the hallmarks of an explosive device. Another package was intercepted in the United Arab Emirates. On Friday, a flight from Dubai to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was escorted through American airspace by two F-15 fighter jets. The plane landed without incident and inspections of cargo at airports in Philadelphia, Newark, and Chicago yielded no suspicious packages.
The episode left Obama administration with a political as well as a security problem. Just days before the election, the White House had to ponder whether to press ahead with a final weekend of campaigning that was going to take him to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, Virginia and his home state of Illinois.