From the Disinfo.com Newsletter
US President Bush's has announced that the Administration's counter-terrorism experts foiled an Al Qaeda plot in 2002 on the West Coast. Bush's announcement follows a pattern of revealing counter-terrorism operations at politically convenient times.
As Lee Clarke observes in Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination (2005), the propaganda battle for 'hearts and minds' in the Global War on Terror has diffused from policymaking circles into the popular cultural imagination. If you accept Clarke's analysis, this climate requires the Administration to make operations announcements in order to convince the public about Al Qaeda's status as an enemy.
Consequently, the break-up of terrorist cells and clandestine groups has a similar status in the GWOT that fears of nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction had in the Cold War.