By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) –  The State Department’s decision to close more than 20 embassies throughout the Muslim world was already unprecedented.

Now we learn that many of them will be closed even longer – until Aug. 10 – due to what the government is calling the most serious threat since before 9/11.

And that’s saying something.

Trouble is the administration cannot tell us anything more than that. So we have to give officials the benefit of the doubt and assume the decision is based on real intelligence.

Surely I would never question that move if an American’s life was in danger. But we must balance that decision with the image that it projects. The fact is closed embassies makes for bad optics. Makes it look to some like the USA is closed for business.

But after the deadly attacks on our diplomatic post in Benghazi the White House is justifiably concerned about a threat like this. There were many lessons learned from that incident and we can at least be happy to know whatever takes place will not threaten the lives of our diplomats.

But there’s another part of this story and that’s the travel warning for all Americans who are abroad.

Just imagine how many people that includes. They’re being told to take extra precautions but little else. So now they’re traveling far from home, they’re worried and they’re unable to do anything about it.

Reminds me of when we had those color-coded threat warning levels. Remember those after 9/11? They were meaningless.

People didn’t know the difference between red, yellow or orange so Homeland Security just did away with the whole system.

And they were never replaced with anything that worked.

So here we are. And we’re still not sure what to do.

Leaving me to wonder if the White House’s greatest worry should be the threat of terrorism or becoming the boy who cried wolf.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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