Lunchtime Terrorist Attacks

A Yemen-based terrorist group has suggested that attacking Washington restaurants full of federal workers would be a good way to get lots of publicity. While it...

The plan to launch a noon-time terrorist attack or attacks on feds dining in one of D.C.’s posh restaurants is serious and frightening. But it has one tiny flaw:

Somebody didn’t do his homework!!!

The author of the frag-a-fed manual clearly has spent more time looking at Hollywood movies about Washington than checking out the real D.C.

Many if not most Washington-based government workers are lucky to get a 30 minute lunch break. More often than not, civil servants brown bag it, do a cafeteria quickie or dine standing up next to a vending machine.

Earlier this week, a Yemen-based Al-Qaeda affiliate recommended that wanna-be terrorists make a “random” hit on a downtown eatery which “might end up knocking out a few government employees…”

The tip was part of a detailed “article” titled “Tips for Our Brothers in the United States.” Instead of traveling abroad and risk getting caught, it suggested they stay in their U.S.A. home regions. It contained a variety of suggestions on ways to cause mayhem and murder producing terror and generating lots of publicity. And these are serious people and this is very serious stuff.

Counter-terrorism experts say the Yemen-based group is a source of very deep concern. Especially when specific target areas are proposed. It has been linked to the Ft. Hood shooting and the attempt to set off a bomb on a European flight bound for Detroit.

Washington has dealt with terrorists attacks – including assaults on the Capitol building and an attempt to kill President Truman – even before the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. A number of attacks have been quietly nipped in the bud (including one said to involve a D.C. area airport) by federal and local authorities. So…

This plan to knock off government employees at lunch is deadly serious. And it is being treated that way. But…

Assuming that Washington restaurants will be target-rich with federal workers at lunch (or dinner) is a real leap of faith. More likely the patrons on any given day (or night) are lawyers, lobbyists, maybe even diplomats.

“The last time I ate out regularly and for more than a 30-minute break…was a dozen years ago when Scholl’s was still open,” said a long-time Interior Department employee. Scholl’s was a D.C.-based cafeteria chain with several outlets downtown. It had three meals a day, good food at good prices, and it was popular with federal workers and retirees.

In good weather many downtown feds eat lunch in one of the city’s many parks. But the number of civil servants dining large on any given day is pretty small.

Voluntary Contributions: If you are still working and under the Civil Service Retirement System (or CSRS offset) you can sign up for the voluntary contributions plan.

The VCP, which is separate and distinct from the Thrift Savings Plan, permits eligible feds to invest on their own into the VCP which is paying 3.125 percent this year. Payments can be made anytime by check in increments of $25. Here’s how it works.

Benefits expert Tammy Flanagan discussed the VCP and the best-date-to-retire Wednesday on our Your Turn radio show. To listen, click here.

To reach me:

Nearly Useless Factoid
by Julia Ziegler

Did you know, eskimos use refrigerators to keep food from freezing.

How the Voluntary Contribution Program works
For feds under the Civil Service Retirement System and CSRS Offset, there is a government version of a certificate of deposit that offers 3.125 percent interest in 2010. Federal benefits expert Tammy Flanagan explained the advantages to opening a voluntary contributions account.

Poll results: Should feds work on Columbus Day?
And it’s not too late to cast your vote!

Who is the best dressed fed?
The nominations are in and now it is your turn to vote! Take a look at the nominees and vote for your favorite as many times as you would like. Voting closes Friday, October 15, 2010.

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