Feds bust terror plot at JFK airport in NYC? Update: PDF of complaint added; Update: Suspect wanted Venezuelan visa to visit Iran

posted at 11:31 am on June 2, 2007 by Allahpundit

Possibly with some inside help. I wonder how similar to last year’s UK airline plot it’ll turn out to be.

Stand by for updates.

Update: Not too similar. “Sources said the plot involved a plan to blow up a jet-fuel pipeline at JFK setting off a potential massive explosion.”

Update: More than an hour after the story broke, there’s nothing on the wires about it except at WNBC. Meanwhile, the plot thickens: “Sources said one suspect is thought to be a former parliament or government official in Guyana.”

Update: Fox News has picked it up now. They say the plotters were under surveillance for “some time” and that they weren’t close to acting.

Update: The AP’s on it now. Three are in custody, one’s still on the loose.

Update: ABC News has new details:

Authorities have taken into custody a former cargo worker at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City who they say recruited an FBI informant to help blow up jet fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport, law enforcement officials told ABC News…

The former cargo worker, originally from Guyana, had been under surveillance and allegedly met with a radical group in Trinidad, sources say.

Additional arrests have been made in Trinidad, sources said.

No one’s said this is a jihadist plot (yet), and the locales here are probably a coincidence, but there is one notorious Al Qaeda operative at large with ties to both Guyana and Trinidad who’s allegedly been looking to hit the U.S. for a long time.

Update: Homegrown, says CBS. No known ties to Al Qaeda.

Update: WNBC has the names: Russell Defreitas, Abdul Nur, Kareem Ibrihim and Abdul Kadir. Your quote of the day, via CNN: “One suspect, a U.S. citizen who is a native of Guyana and who once worked at the airport, was described by a source as ‘a very angry Muslim extremist.'”

Update: What do you know — we have our first possible Shukrijumah connection.

FBI agents feared but never confirmed the three men accused of plotting to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York were linked to one of the most wanted al Qaeda leaders, Adnan Shukrijumah, known to have operated out of Guyana and Trinidad.

Officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com that they heard repeated references to “Adnan” during the extensive wiretaps conducted on the suspects’ telephone conversations, including calls to Guyana and Trinidad…

A FBI spokesperson in Miami said the squad assigned to track Shukrijumah was aware of the case but that “no connection” to the wanted al Qaeda suspect was found in the JFK case.

Update: One of the Guyanese suspects is also an imam.

Update: Two of them were associated with the group Jamaat al-Muslimeen in Trinidad. Here’s the sort of “thinking” that went into this:

“Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow … they love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man … if you hit that, this whole country will be mourning. You can kill the man twice,” Defreitas said in another conversation, it said.

“Even the twin towers can’t touch it,” referring to the September 11 attacks in another comment that the law enforcement authorities said was recorded last month. “This can destroy the economy of America for some time.”

Update: Recorded conversations reveal whining about Israel’s war with Hezbollah last year, but the plot had apparently been in the works for two to three years.

Also, while the intent might have been there, the science was not:

The pipeline snakes more than 100 miles from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to JFK. Once they learned of the plot, authorities investigated at what points the pipeline could be accessed and found that even if those points were bombed, there would be little to no impact — and no ignition — and that the only way to wreak havoc at JFK would be to detonate bombs at the airport itself.

But, a source said, “They never let go of the idea,” and seemed determined to find a way to execute it regardless.

Update: The boss got a copy of the complaint in PDF form. Download it here.

Update: In paragraph 8, on page 8, Defreitas notes that Arab Muslims aren’t the only Muslims eager to get a taste of jihad. And lo and behold, there’s an AP story on the wires right now showing how gruesomely right he is. Meanwhile, on the top of page 10, Defreitas mentions a cell of “six or seven” people. Funny thing there too — the National Post leads today with a reminder that not all plots end with all the bad guys being arrested.

Update: Top of page 12 — the many “types” of jihad.

Update: Go figure:

Isha Kadir, the Guyanese suspect’s wife, said her husband flew from Guyana to Trinidad on Thursday. She said he was arrested Friday as he was boarding a flight from Trinidad to Venezuela, where he planned to pick up a travel visa to attend an Islamic religious conference in Iran.

Update: How big of a threat was this?

One law enforcement official played down Mr. Defreitas’s skills as a terrorist, calling him “a sad sack” and “not a Grade A terrorist.”

But he noted that his efforts to solicit the backing and blessing of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which conducted a deadly attack on Trinidad’s Parliament during a failed coup attempt in 1990, could have had devastating consequences.


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Also, while the intent might have been there, the science was not:

That’s sort of what I figured. Thanks, AP.

So, it wasn’t really a threat threat. Let’s hope the FBI has infiltrated real cells who can do real damage.

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 7:03 PMt

Except one of the guys was an engineer and knew the tanks would be double lined and require 2 explosions to allow a breach and enough O2 to cause an explosion… no science indeed…

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 7:06 PM

It was planned by Fundamentalist Christians in response to Falwell’s death.

So the fact that his family turned him in and the Falwell family unequivocally denounces any and all violence of this sort doesn’t make a bit of difference does it? It’s all “morally equal” in the sight of liberals.

acleaver on June 2, 2007 at 7:14 PM

JaHerer22: “I said our current tactics of invading countries and implementing democracy are not proving effective; ….”

Invading Afghanistan was very effective in cleansing it of Al Qaeda, which can no longer use it as a base to launch attacks on America. Please name one operational Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. If you don’t think it is effective, tell us why you think Al Qaeda can continue to use any part of Afghanistan to train terrorists.

Invading Iraq was very effective in stopping its terrorist training programs and its support to terror groups, including Al Qaeda. Saddam will not be launching any more attacks on American nor his own people as he is suffering from acute deadness at the moment.

JaHerer22: “… this seems pretty clear considering the quagmire in Iraq and the increase in al-Queda membership it has caused.”

JaHerer22: “I’m not opposed to using the military to fight terrorists, if we find a terrorist training camp we should drop some bombs on it–it we find a terrorist leader we should kill or capture him. This would effective and reasonable–invading and occupying countries simply fans the flames of hatred that already exists and in the end cause more harm than good.”

The Taliban should have considered that before they let Al Qaeda invade America.

That aside, you’re wrong for many reasons. The big reason you’re wrong is that the Muslims will hate us no matter what we do because we are not Muslim. Murderous bigotry is part of Islam. The other major reason that you’re wrong is that Middle Eastern Muslims are barbarians who only respect force. I might point out that when Bush started kicking ass, many of the Muslim countries, like Libya, decided that it was good time to get out of the terror business.

You can see this in the reaction of the Pakistanis, who sent many of their sons to fight the Yankee infidels in Afghanistan, sons who were vaporized by our air attacks. When the war ended and their sons didn’t return, the parents turned on their local mullahs for talking their children into fighting a damned fool jihad against the American hyperpower. Consequently, you don’t see a lot of Pakistanis jumping into the jihad in Iraq. They’re sitting it out. The jihadis are rubes coming from places like Saudi Arabia and North Africa who have not benefitted from an educational pounding by the US military.

The other major reason you’re wrong is that it is the insurgents who in a quagmire in Iraq. The momentum, though slow, is on our side. Guerrilla movements rarely win against a standing army, though it usually takes ten years to snuff them out. Our military is chewing the insurgents up. Even Zarqawi acknowledged the dire state of the jihadis before we placed a big frigging bomb on his forehead. Now, even Iraqis of all stripes are fighting the jihadis and informing on the Baathist insurgents.

Actively seeking out evil and destroying it does a lot of good. Your preference for passive action simply allows that evil to flourish. You can’t talk a cancer to death.

JaHerer22: “I acknowledge that there is a police and a military component to the fight against terrorism, I’m simply stating if you were to evaluate how the police aspect was going you would have to say it was very effective–no attacks since 9/11 and at least 3 plots broken up. On the other hand, if you had to evaluate the military aspect, you would have to admit it has not been nearly as effective as we had hoped.”

Clinton used the police approach in handling the first attack on the World Trade Center and it failed miserably because policework is reactionary and limited to catching perpetrators. A war footing is required; including military, political, economic, financial methods; to properly strike to the root of the threat. It’s hard to believe that you can argue that we should limit ourselves to a police approach when that approach allowed a follow on attack on the WTC that cost 3000 lives.

The police approach is a defensive approach and therefore ineffective. The terrorists can strike us in a hundred thousand places. We can not defend them all nor can we neutralize the threat by catching the perpetrators after the damage is done. The military approach is an offensive approach which takes the fight to the terrorists. In this regard, the war in Iraq is a giant bug zapper for terrorists who flock to it and are exterminated. I much prefer that the front line of combat between us and the terrorists be manned by heavily armed troops in body armor than stewardesses.

For example, Zarqawi was ordered to make attacks on America but he was fully occupied with staying alive in the face of American military efforts. Trying to stop plots in motion is a hopeless strategy. Eventually, we’ll miss one. Directly attacking the terrorists and keeping the pressure on them military is a superior strategy which places terrorists on defense, where they should remain until we kill them.

Tantor on June 2, 2007 at 7:20 PM

Really? How many times have we been attacked since 9/11? How many people predicted we would go this long before being attacked again? How many terrorists have we killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I don’t know if you read my post before you decided to reply to it, but I addressed the fact we have not been attacked since 9/11. We have not been attacked, but many plots have been broken up–which means the terrorists are still out there, our police are just doing a good job of catching them.

So this pretty much answers your second question: however many terrorists we’ve killed, it’s not enough. Furthermore, i don’t have time to provide the appropriate links because I have better things to do on a Saturday night, but it’s been pretty well documented that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more terrorists than they have killed. Before the invasion al-Queda’s presence in Iraq was insignificant; now they are responsible for the deaths of Americans and innocent Iraqis nearly every day.

JaHerer22 on June 2, 2007 at 7:21 PM

The big reason you’re wrong is that the Muslims will hate us no matter what we do because we are not Muslim. Murderous bigotry is part of Islam. The other major reason that you’re wrong is that Middle Eastern Muslims are barbarians who only respect force.

This is nothing but rhetortic–empty neo con talking points.

They hate us because we’re so rich and free…they’re just evil barbarians and we’re nothing but righteous warriors for all that as good and free.

Give me an effing break. The world is a complicated place, it’s not quite as simple as we’re good, they’re evil, nothing will ever change that. It would be nice if it was, but unfortunately things like money, land, oil, power, and influence ruin your little pipe dream and paint the world in shades of gray.

I’m not saying if we leave the Middle East they will suddenly love us, and I’m certainly not suggesting we give into their demands and abandon our interests, but we needn’t pour fuel onto the fire.

Read bin-Laden’s fatwas or the 9/11 Commission Report if you want to learn why they hate us and kill us…please don’t tell bring such hollow rhetoric into this argument.

JaHerer22 on June 2, 2007 at 7:39 PM

JaHerer22: “We have not been attacked, but many plots have been broken up–which means the terrorists are still out there, our police are just doing a good job of catching them.”

The Al Qaeda plots have been stopped because we bombed them to pieces in Afghanistan, hunted them down with killer drones in Yemen, sent our spies to Pakistan to capture their leaders, interrupted their money supply in Dubai. You might consider the rather obvious fact that Al Qaeda has not launched any more attacks in America because we have killed or captured the majority of their leadership.

The plots you mentioned are local Muslims acting on Islamist ideology with no connection to Al Qaeda. Such plots are spontaneously generated by the hateful doctrine of Islam.

JaHerer22: “So this pretty much answers your second question: however many terrorists we’ve killed, it’s not enough. Furthermore, i don’t have time to provide the appropriate links because I have better things to do on a Saturday night, but it’s been pretty well documented that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more terrorists than they have killed. Before the invasion al-Queda’s presence in Iraq was insignificant; now they are responsible for the deaths of Americans and innocent Iraqis nearly every day.”

Actually, it’s pretty clear that terrorists fare poorly in Afghanistan and Iraq. The military officers in the theater of combat say that jihadis went to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan to become better jihadis. They come to die when fighting the Americans.

Likewise, in Iraq, the terror cells suffer terrible attrition. As Michael Yon has written, when a foreign jihadi is captured in Iraq, he usually tells his American captors everything he knows and bitches about how badly he was led. That leads to a cascade of raids as the troops round up or kill the rest of the cell, including the leader. The leaders are replaced by less competent and less experienced leaders who make more mistakes and therefore are themselves captured or killed quickly. These terror cells are in a death spiral as attrition grinds them down.

What jihadis are left have little luck attacking Americans. They’re too well protected. Instead, they’ve gone after the civilians, which is a big mistake for guerrillas. They cut off their source of support by doing so, which is why Iraqis are turning against them.

It’s pretty goofy to say Al Qaeda was insignificant in Iraq before the invasion when Iraq was ruled by terror by Saddam, who killed hundreds of thousands. He had whole villages driven out to the desert in buses and shot en masse. The best Al Qaeda can do is kill a few dozen Iraqis at a time with car bombs. The US invasion of Iraq has ceased the institutionalization of mass murder by the government and reduced it to an ad hoc act by small gangs. That is a good thing.

Tantor on June 2, 2007 at 7:44 PM

wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more terrorists than they have killed

Really? Prove it. Start by telling me how many we’ve killed. Then tell me what quality terrorists we’ve killed in Iraq and Afghanistan vs the ones “we’ve created.” Do you think terrorist of the quality of al-Zarqawi would have been dumb enough to bring a tape to Circuit City or recruit and FBI informant? Police work didn’t break up the last two cells, incompetence on behalf of the terrorists did.

efore the invasion al-Queda’s presence in Iraq was insignificant;

The quantity before is completely immaterial. It’s the quantity there now that counts. Maybe you’d prefer to hunt them down one-by-one on the streets of the US and hope they are as dumb as these last two groups but you’ll have to forgive me if I laugh out loud at that “strategy.” You lure your enemy into battle at the time and place of your choosing. It’s a fundamental strategy of war. Try reading Sun Tzu.

People like you live in a dream world where if it wasn’t for the actions of the US these peaceful people would be growing dates along the Tigris and Euphrates if we just left them alone. That sort of attitude prevailed for the better part of 30 years and culminated in 3,000 innocent people being slaughtered, 2 of the largest building in the world being destroyed and the world’s largest economy in shambles.

These people declared war on the US and Western civilization as a whole and war is what they got. better on their soil than ours.

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 7:46 PM

So this pretty much answers your second question: however many terrorists we’ve killed, it’s not enough.

Maybe the reason many of these plots are failing is that we have in fact killed enough of them that those who, prior to 9/11/01, had the logistical know-how and infrastructural support to succeed at launching significant attacks, no longer do.

Considering that 9/11/01 was merely the high point of an extended and rather successful Al Qaeda campaign aimed at attacking a broad array of US targets, most of them overseas, and that no such coordinated attacks against US interests have taken place anywhere outside current theaters of US conflict since, it seems obvious that Al Qaeda’s ambitions have been derailed.

In fact, Al Qaeda’s operations seem to now be relegated to little more than insurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter of which, in particular, appear to be encountering increasing difficulties.

The anti-war crowd on the left is right about one thing: Iraq is a quagmire. They’re just wrong about whose quagmire it happens to be.

Blacklake on June 2, 2007 at 8:06 PM

JaHerer22 on June 2, 2007 at 7:39 PM

Thanks for my daily dose of stupid.

Let me make it simple for you; The cops are making more arrests in these cases because of the War on Terror and the extra resources allocated.

Currently, al Qaeda, the largest, most organized, most well financed and dealiest terrorist organiztion in the world is getting their asses handed to them by members of the US military in the Middle East.

If they were not getting their asses kicked by members of the US military, they would be free to carry out large, well organized, well financed and deadly attacks in the US.

Is that understood?

reaganaut on June 2, 2007 at 8:12 PM

BigOldDog,

Except one of the guys was an engineer and knew the tanks would be double lined and require 2 explosions to allow a breach and enough O2 to cause an explosion… no science indeed…

Well, if I’m looking at the right place on Google Earth, then I suspect that they would have had a hell of a time with a single tank, let alone 40.

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 8:14 PM

JaHerer22: “This is nothing but rhetortic–empty neo con talking points.”

JaHerer22, you are speaking from ignorance. Go read what the Islamists write and preach. Go read the Koran and hadith. Mohammed told the Muslims to fight every man until the whole world submitted to Islam. There are scads of primary suras that support exactly that, which are in turn supported by hadith, which are in turn supported by centuries of fatwas and doctrine written by Muslim theologians. Your position is profoundly uninformed.

JaHerer22: “They hate us because we’re so rich and free…they’re just evil barbarians and we’re nothing but righteous warriors for all that as good and free. Give me an effing break. The world is a complicated place, it’s not quite as simple as we’re good, they’re evil, nothing will ever change that. It would be nice if it was, but unfortunately things like money, land, oil, power, and influence ruin your little pipe dream and paint the world in shades of gray.”

Again, you appear to be ignorant of the evolution of this conflict. If you read the excellent “Inside The Mirage: America’s Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia“, you would find that the first serious resentment Saudis had for Americans came when they found out how well the Westerners lived in the Aramco compounds. The Saudis were living in goatskin tents outside the compounds while the American contractors were living in little air-conditioned American-style suburbs. That led to riots.

The introduction of television and movies into the Muslim world, after centuries of fatwas forbidding contact with the non-Muslim world, was a shock as Muslims realized that the West lived better than them. The fact that infidels lived well and had power offended Muslim sensibilities, whose religion told them they were supreme and should have dominion over the Earth. Their jihad is an attempt to remedy this unholy imbalance, in their view.

You also seem to be ignorant about what the Muslim fundamentalists believe. They explicitly reject freedom as a virtue. They believe everyone should submit to Islam. “Islam” means “submission.” Freedom of action is blasphemy to them.

You need to do your homework on this subject to have any credibility. Right now, you are clueless about Islam and the Muslims who oppose us.

JaHerer22: “I’m not saying if we leave the Middle East they will suddenly love us, and I’m certainly not suggesting we give into their demands and abandon our interests, but we needn’t pour fuel onto the fire.”

They are not going to love us ever. The Koran explicitly states that Muslims should not take non-Muslims as friends nor imitate their ways nor live among them. Wahhabi doctrine explicitly states that Muslims must “build a wall of resentment” between themselves and infidels. The Saudis pass out a tourist brochure from their embassy here in Washington that reminds Muslims that they have a religious duty to hate America, that voting or participating in democracy is blasphemy. The Muslim schools in town teach that it’s ok to steal from non-Muslims and hurt them. Love of infidels is not part of Islam. Mohammed stated many times in the Koran that infidels must 1) convert to Islam; 2) accept Muslim domination as dhimmis; or 3) die.

The fundamental error of your position is that you place the onus of responsibility of this conflict on America. Islam is a belligerent ideology which respects nor tolerates anything non-Muslim. Islam is the source of this conflict. You need only examine the history of Islam to see that it has spread to virtually every current Muslim country by violence.

JaHerer22: “Read bin-Laden’s fatwas or the 9/11 Commission Report if you want to learn why they hate us and kill us…please don’t tell bring such hollow rhetoric into this argument.”

I have read them. You haven’t. Bin Laden explicitly declares war on America because we deployed troops within Saudi Arabia to defend it against Saddam in the Gulf War. His authority for that is referenced from the Koran, where Mohammed explicitly states that no other religion should reside in the Arabian peninsula but Islam. In other words, his motive for fighting America is the doctrine of religious bigotry commanded in the Koran.

Tantor on June 2, 2007 at 8:29 PM

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 8:14 PM

I don;t know. I haven’t studied it but you can be sure we’ll hear a lot more about the feasibility in the days to come.

I did her they were hoping to cause a massive chain reaction. That is, they may have been studying if causing a massive explosion in 1 or more tanks would be large enough to breach the others causing them to explode as well. Again, you can bet we’ll here more in the days to come.

What does concern me is the rush to downplay the plan right out of the gate with statements like “no science” when we already know one the guys is an engineer.

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 8:31 PM

JaHerer22: “They hate us because we’re so rich and free…they’re just evil barbarians and we’re nothing but righteous warriors for all that as good and free. Give me an effing break.

from page 229 of Ghost Wars:

“Two fiery young preachers know as the ‘Awakening Sheiks’ recorder anti-American sermons on cassette tapes and circulated millions of copies around the Kingdom in late 1990 and early 1991. ‘It is not the world against Iraq. It is the West against Islam,’ … The real enemy is not Iraq, It is the West.’

“In May 1991, an underground network of Islamists preachers and activists obtained scores of signatures on a petition called the ‘Letter of Demands’ that was submitted to King Fahd. The petition blended calls for political reform with radical Islamist ideology…. The letter’s publication shocked the Saudi royal family, in part because it revealed an extensive organization in the kingdom rallying in secret around a subversive agenda. Cassette tapes circulated that summer by underground Islamist preachers grew in number and vitriol. A popular tape titled ‘America as I Saw It’ informed the listeners that the United States was a ‘nation of beasts who fornicate and eat rotten food,’ a land where men marry men and parents are abandoned as they age.”

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 8:35 PM

What does concern me is the rush to downplay the plan right out of the gate with statements like “no science” when we already know one the guys is an engineer.

TheBigOldDog

I hear what you’re saying. Well, how does “no logistics” sound then? They certainly planned to do a bunch of stuff with hardly any people.

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 8:43 PM

I hear what you’re saying. Well, how does “no logistics” sound then? They certainly planned to do a bunch of stuff with hardly any people.

Look what 19 people with box cutters accomplished.

Look what Tim McVeigh did with the help of just 1 person.

Never underestimate your enemies. It’s often a fatal mistake.

As Tom Friedman had put it, we are living in the age of the super-empowered individual – where, because of technology, individuals posses powers once only obtainable by States.

Look, these guys may turn out to be bozos and their plan totally impractical. I just think it’s way too early to make that judgment especially when such pronouncements are contradicted right out of the gate. It could be they have a major vulnerability they are trying to downplay until they can fix it, in which case, they are doing the right thing.

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 8:52 PM

Anyone know if Bush’s Eavesdropping and wiretapping program caught these guys ?

Would the have gotten away with this attack if we hadnt of listened in on them ?

William Amos on June 2, 2007 at 8:58 PM

One law enforcement official played down Mr. Defreitas’s skills as a terrorist, calling him “a sad sack” and “not a Grade A terrorist.”

Why, why, why do they do this? It’s as if they just don’t want us to be concerned, and that’s crazy. As if one sad sack can’t murder someone and ruin the lives of a lot more.

Kensington on June 2, 2007 at 9:03 PM

This is even more infuriating because the Washington, D.C. elites refuse to acknowlege the open border is a national security issue. I’m glad they caught them, but there’s not much down on the southern (or nothern!) border to stop anyone from coming in.

Oh, well. Upcoming president Mrs. Bill Clinton will fill us all with comfort and motherly love after 3 to 4 of our major cities are wiped out.

SouthernGent on June 2, 2007 at 9:10 PM

Mrs Bill Clinton believes it is alright to wire tap the ladies who have been abused by the man they call her husband as well as their other enemies, but to wire tap terrorist via incoming international phone calls, by the NSA is wrong. Mrs Bill Clinton is a hypocrite!

StuLongIsland on June 2, 2007 at 9:33 PM

Never underestimate your enemies. It’s often a fatal mistake.

TheBigOldDog

I agree with that. The guys they seem to be catching, however, have a case of the stupids. From 1993 onwards, most the terrorists that have been caught have been caught because they are really, really, dumb.

From the guy who wanted his deposit back for the truck that nearly blew up the WTC to the Fort Dix Six, just clueless dolts.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some smart folks with some good plans. What I’m saying is that those guys aren’t getting caught because those guys fly below the radar and don’t pique the interest of law enforcement.

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 9:34 PM

What some folks here understand, and some apparently don’t, is that the viability of these terrorists plans to attack the US isn’t the point. The point is that they were planning to attack the US. To argue as to if their plan was good or not is exactly the mindset that said that a handful of people with box cutters couldn’t hijack an airplane and fly it into a building full of people. Terrorists are all about symbolic attacks anyway and I can assure you that even if a small and relatively unimpressive attack had been made against the fuel pipeline to JFK the government response (spasm) and the media coverage would have made it into a huge symbolic victory for jihad.

Buzzy on June 2, 2007 at 9:42 PM

Buzzy,

To argue as to if their plan was good or not is exactly the mindset that said that a handful of people with box cutters couldn’t hijack an airplane and fly it into a building full of people

The thing about September 11th is that is was an extremely good plan. There’s a book I have next to me called “Target: The West” written in 1993 by Yossef Bodansky. He was part of the US inquiry into the 1993 WTC bombing. He called the whole hijacking of planes to be used as missiles deal back then. Page 15 of the paperback edition, actually.

So, they had a good plan, did it on the cheap and exploited gaping holes in security. This plan is a bad plan, involving suspicious travel and trying to get through tight security. I think we’ll see amusement park bombings before we see a successful massive explosion at an airport fuel dump.

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 10:12 PM

Krydor on June 2, 2007 at 10:12 PM

hard to say if it was a bad plan. What it was was bad execution. They recruited an FBI informant. If they hadn’t, who knows what could have happened. It’s unclear if anything raised suspicions before the informant was recruited.

TheBigOldDog on June 2, 2007 at 10:48 PM

The 9/11 attackers did plenty to raise suspicions, like taking flying lessons where they weren’t interested in taking off or landing. It wasn’t their good plan that worked, it was our lousy national security mindset at the time. There were FBI agents right on top of their suspicious activity but they were ignored, several flight schools reported their activity but they were ignored. Guess their bosses never read Bodansky’s book. Just because their plan worked doesn’t mean it was a good plan and just because this plan didn’t work doesn’t mean it was a bad plan. We’re much better at detecting and tracking people who mean us harm these days. I think that both this case and the Fort Dix case are showing that we are able to utilize informants who can travel in the jihadi circles. We’ll never know exactly how the JFK terrorists plan might have evolved. Thank God.

Buzzy on June 3, 2007 at 3:40 AM

Officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com that they heard repeated references to “Adnan” during the extensive wiretaps conducted on the suspects’ telephone conversations, including calls to Guyana and Trinidad…

Screw you Bush! Keep your patriot act and secret police off of us, we have privacy rights! I’d rather have people die in a terrorist attack than you listen in on their phone calls!

~The American Left

RightWinged on June 3, 2007 at 4:14 AM

One law enforcement official played down Mr. Defreitas’s skills as a terrorist, calling him “a sad sack” and “not a Grade A terrorist.”

Just a disgruntled former employee. Nothing to see here, move along.

Brat on June 3, 2007 at 8:01 AM

Tantor on June 2, 2007 at 8:29 PM

Let me add some other things else that JaHerer22 is obviously missing. His argument is based on the notion that somehow the law enforcement side is more successful than the military side (at least in respect to Iraq). When he cites the London plot that was foiled by British government, he fails to acknowledge that their laws allow them much more intrusive police powers than anything we’d imagine doing (until we’re attacked again). Their police are allowed a genuine domestic surveillance program and they are not limited by posse comitatus.

A fatal error in his reasoning, though, is that he is trying to separate the law enforcement aspects from the military aspects. Although this is an interesting academic exercise, it does not reflect reality. Our counter-terrorism effort are holistic. They take into account military, economic, diplomatic, and law enforcement efforts. Furthermore, due to security, we are not privy to all of the successes of each of these efforts. Nor to how intertwined they are. For example, we know that we got intelligence from Afghanistan and Iraq. How much of that have we used to break up terrorist plots? How much was filtered and shared with the FBI or local law enforcement to prevent attacks? We don’t know. We can really only argue over whether the overall strategy of counter-terrorism is working. Most people agree, it has (so far).

cmay on June 3, 2007 at 9:03 AM

What Krydor and JaHerer22 consistently fail to grasp is that the best defense is a strong offence. Treating terrorism as a police action is a defensive strategy. A strictly defensive strategy is a citadel/siege defense; it means you are always on the defensive, always waiting for your perimeter to be breached. Always waiting for that one attack that brings about your destruction.

There is no defensive fortification that cannot and will not eventually be destroyed by an enemy with the patience and resources required. A purely defensive strategy is always a suicidal strategy.

doriangrey on June 3, 2007 at 10:23 AM

Technological savvy is hardly necessary to succeed as a terrorist. The two snipers who were gunning down random people around Washington, DC five years ago were not technological geniuses and they terrorized this city. Their technological innovation amounted to cutting a hole in the trunk of a car so they could fire through it. I can tell you that people here were scared to send their kids to school, to go to the gas station, to have outdoor festivals.

The Muslim terrorists making war on us are incompetent boobs for the most part, lots of bloodthirsty enthusiasm combined with few brains. The first collection of plotters against the World Trade Center were a bunch of clueless cab drivers and pizza deliverymen who couldn’t figure out how to make a bomb until Ramzi Yousef showed up out of nowhere with the brains and organization to get things done.

Most Al Qaeda plots failed out of sheer incompetence. These plots were pretty simple: build a big bomb, drive it to where the infidels are, set it off. The bumble-footed Muslim haters couldn’t even manage this most of the time because these are not people who can get a job done. The Muslim jihad is a war of the incompetent and dysfunctional against the competent and successful.

Tantor on June 3, 2007 at 10:24 AM

What Krydor and JaHerer22 consistently fail to grasp is that the best defense is a strong offence. Treating terrorism as a police action is a defensive strategy. A strictly defensive strategy is a citadel/siege defense; it means you are always on the defensive, always waiting for your perimeter to be breached. Always waiting for that one attack that brings about your destruction.

doriangrey

I don’t think I said anything about treating Islamic fundamentalism as a police matter, nor did I say anything about going on the defense. What I’m saying is that this specific plot was stupid.

Krydor on June 3, 2007 at 12:28 PM

Technological savvy is hardly necessary to succeed as a terrorist. The two snipers who were gunning down random people around Washington, DC five years ago were not technological geniuses and they terrorized this city. Their technological innovation amounted to cutting a hole in the trunk of a car so they could fire through it. I can tell you that people here were scared to send their kids to school, to go to the gas station, to have outdoor festivals.

Tantor on June 3, 2007 at 10:24 AM

I know this has nothing to do with the argument you’re having, but I feel the need to point this out every time the Beltway Snipers are brought up… Remember how criminal profilers made them out to be middle aged white men? (YEAH, WE PROFILE… IT’S JUST NOT ALLOWED WHEN IT’S ACCURATE AND THE PERP IS OF ANY MINORITY GROUP). And what did they turn out to be? BLACK MUSLIMS!!! I’m still so irritated that this was completely downplayed. I suspect if you were to do a poll of the general public, you’d be lucky if 20% knew that those 2 were Muslims. But the profiling point is extremely important too. Where white leaders organizing protests against evil police departments for profiling when they told us they were looking for middle aged white men? No. And the worst part is, THEY WERE WRONG! And we still didn’t throw a fit. Where as you have minorities, getting out of trouble for things they’ve actually done by throwing around the profiling race card.

RightWinged on June 3, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Rightwinged,

I disagree. Shooting people at random is a Crazy White Guy crime. Black people just don’t do it, as a rule. Blacks don’t do serial killings either, as a rule. The Washington Snipers were an exception to that rule. If you go with the percentages, as the profilers did, your best bet was to guess they were white. That guess filled the media for weeks before they got a lead on the perps who turned out to be black and nominally Muslim, at least.

Tantor on June 3, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Rightwinged,

I disagree. Shooting people at random is a Crazy White Guy crime. Black people just don’t do it, as a rule. Blacks don’t do serial killings either, as a rule. The Washington Snipers were an exception to that rule. If you go with the percentages, as the profilers did, your best bet was to guess they were white. That guess filled the media for weeks before they got a lead on the perps who turned out to be black and nominally Muslim, at least.

Tantor on June 3, 2007 at 4:29 PM

You missed my entire point Tantor. Profiling is a legitimate law enforcement technique, and WE NEED TO BE USING IT. If someone is named Abdul, I want them being scrutinized over my grandmother. The point being, we didn’t throw a fit when criminal profilers insisted the DC snipers were middle aged angry white males, because that is what the imperfect science of profile lead them to believe. My point was, it was perfectly acceptable and there were no protests over it, but we aren’t allowed to profile if the profile will lead us to be searching for someone who is part of a minority group.

So I’m not even saying that the profiling wasn’t right to do, even though they couldn’t have been more wrong, the point I was making was about the hypocrisy of people when it comes to accepted and unacceptable profiling. Black Muslims murdering random people in DC? “We think it’s a white guy”. Then you’ve got black criminals on the loose in DC, and you have the Washington Post writing stories where they describe them to a T, except they neglect to mention their race (even though it’s known, they aren’t just John Does). Basically what I’m saying is “we’re f**ked” if this is how we’re going to fight crime and terrorism. Law enforcement isn’t allowed to do it, so we all should – If you see someone who looks Middle Eastern or Muslim in any way, keep an eye on them. I really don’t care if anyone has a problem with that, it’s necessary.

RightWinged on June 3, 2007 at 5:28 PM

Mulim terrorists have profiled themselves. We just noticed.

Mojave Mark on June 5, 2007 at 9:13 PM