There’s been surprisingly little new information since the story broke yesterday a.m. Why were there 10 men on the training-camp DVD if only six were arrested? Were the suspects really recent converts, as has been alleged? How’d the three illegal-alien Duka brothers get here? Were they connected in any way to the Albanian refugees who were sheltered at Fort Dix in 1999? The fourth suspect from the former Yugoslavia, Agron Abdullahu, was:
A trained sniper during the war in Kosovo, Abdullahu and his family were among thousands given safe haven in the U.S. under the Clinton administration to protect them from the Serbs. For months, they would be housed in refugee camps at Ft. Dix , a circumstance which now points to a terribly ironic twist.
“He never really came out and said he had a hatred towards Americans and I told him many times, ‘look, you would have been left there if it wasn’t for us helping you out.’ If Clinton didn’t bring them in, he never would have had the chance that he had. This is how he repays us,” [co-worker Bob] Watts said.
The boss made the same point in her column today. Watts says he never suspected Abdullahu even though he used to joke about his “Uncle Benny,” a.k.a. Osama bin Laden, would occasionally bring bomb-making recipes with him to work, and “was known to remove tree trunks using home-made explosives and sometimes joked about blowing up the court system.”
Anyway, plenty of questions, not so many answers. The best the press has been able to do thus far with the apparent ringleader, Mohamad Shnewer, is to find out from the neighbors that his family was “unusually noisy, nocturnal, messy and unpleasant” and didn’t mow their lawn enough. Dan Riehl did catch a quote from one of the Duka boys in which he admitted to having five children, which is a tasty immigration angle but doesn’t tell us much about the terror plot.
Probably the most worthwhile piece on the wires right now is Bill Gertz’s quickie look at jihadism in the Balkans, which may or may not have anything to do with this case but which is useful anyway as a primer on fundamentalist interest in the area:
U.S. officials said intelligence reports from the Balkans have identified a support structure for several terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, among the Muslim communities in Albania and in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia…
[A] Congressional Research Service report produced in 2005 said instability in Albania during the 1990s gave al Qaeda a “foothold” there.
“Poor internal security, lax border controls, and high rates of crime produced an environment conducive to terrorist activity,” said the report by CRS specialist Steven Woehrel. “Some foreign Islamic extremists used Albania as a safe haven and gained Albanian citizenship.”
Balkan Muslims also have been targets of al Qaeda recruitment efforts because they have an easier time blending in or evading U.S. and European security measures and border controls, which often are geared to identifying Middle Eastern extremists…
European intelligence agencies estimate that as many as 750 Muslim former fighters remain hidden in Bosnia and have acted as a supply network to send guns, money and documents to terrorists passing through the region.
Finally, Rick Moran rounds up leftist reaction, the gist of which naturally is that these guys were rank amateurs who couldn’t possibly have done any damage even though they were looking to buy AK-47s and Kalashnikovs and one was a trained sniper, and even if they did by some stroke of luck manage to kill a few soldiers, hey — it’d only be a few soldiers. To recognize the threat is to engage in “scare tactics” about it whereas to blithely ignore it is to show reason, courage, and grace under fire. Which I guess makes Truthers the bravest of them all. They’re also working some clever puns about the Bush “Assministration,” so you won’t want to miss that.
Update: CAIR is taking this more seriously than the nutroots are, although they don’t want any mention of Islam in the news coverage. Even though the explicit motive per the criminal complaint is, quote, “jihad.”
Update: The Duka brothers aren’t the only suspected terrorists in the news today for whom jihad might have been a family affair.