So much for that law-enforcement approach to the war on terror. ABC News reports that Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, the man arrested for killing one soldier and wounding another in front of a recruiting station in Arkansas, had already tripped enough alarms at the FBI to have the Joint Terrorist Task Force open an investigation when he returned from Yemen:
The suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of one soldier and the critical injury of another at a Little Rock, Ark., Army recruiting booth today was under investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force since his return from Yemen, ABC News has learned.
The investigation was in its preliminary stages, authorities said, and was based on the suspect’s travel to Yemen and his arrest there for using a Somali passport.
The suspect, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 24, had changed his name from Carlos Leon Bledsoe after converting to the Muslim faith.
He offered no resistance to police when arrested. In fact, Muhammad/Bledsoe has already begun cooperating, telling authorities he planned a much larger killing spree, but had only the two targets:
According to sources, the suspect advised them that he was going to kill as many Army personnel as possible. At the time of the shooting, the subject had approximately 200 rounds of ammunition available, police said.
According to a police report, Muhammad told police he saw two uniformed U.S. soldiers in front of the recruiting office before he shot and killed Pvt. William Long, 23, and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, while they were taking a break outside the U.S. Army recruiting station where they both worked.
The police found no explosives in the car, but they discovered that Muhammad/Bledsoe meant business. He had two pistols and an SKS rifle, over a hundred rounds of ammunition, and vests to hold the clips. Muhammad wanted to take out as many military personnel he could find before anyone could catch him.
The FBI and its JTTT will have to answer some questions about when exactly they intended to intervene. Muhammad/Bledsoe got arrested in Yemen for traveling on a Somali passport, which triggered the FBI’s interest in him in the first place. It seems likely that he came back from his Islamic studies in the terrorist hotbed of Yemen with this mission in mind, and yet the FBI didn’t act until he killed someone.
Law enforcement has its place in civil maintenance of the peace. The terrorists are waging war against us, not crime waves. The Bush administration learned that lesson the hard way on 9/11 after eight years of flabby response from the Clinton administration after the first World Trade Center attack. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves back in that flabby, self-indulgent “what war?” mode, and disaster will surely follow.