Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sorry, folks -- I'm reassured by what I'm reading about the Bronx terror plot that was broken up last night. We all know, or we should know, that there are going to be people out there concocting schemes like this; in this case, the law was on to the plotters a year ago:

Sources said the four men were arrested after a year-long investigation that began when an informant connected to a mosque in Newburgh said he knew men who wanted to buy explosives.

FBI agents supplied them with what they billed as C-4 plastic explosives and a Stinger missile.

The weaponry was all phony.

"The bombs had been made by FBI technicians," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "They were totally inert."

The system worked. Law enforcement vigilance (and, as far as I can tell, mainstream law enforcement techniques -- not warrantless wiretaps or torture) kept us safe.

Oh, and this happened even though scary Guantanamo superterrorist Terminators aren't on U.S. soil.

... And yet I'm certain this story is going to be used to scare the crap out of us -- particularly about the notion of putting Gitmo detainees in stateside supermax prisons. Already, Pete King, who used to have moderation but is now more and more a Limbaughnista cadre, is getting in an opportunistic soundbite:

"This shows the real risks we face from homegrown terror and jailhouse converts, and the need for constant vigilance," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.).

In fact, three of the men arrested appear to have been jailhouse converts to Islam (although they were reportedly recruited by the alleged plot leader after their release) -- but I assume the reference was meant to refer not just to these men, but also to the notion (advanced by backstabbing FBI direcor Robert Mueller yesterday) that we need to fear the possibility of Gitmo detainees "radicalizing others" if they're in custody here.

Give me a break. If we're going to let fear of recruitment dictate our incarceration policies, then maybe we shouldn't put any members of, say, large organized domestic drug gangs in prison at all. Omigod! They might recruit! We'd better just let them walk the streets!

The risk of recruitment is a risk we just have to manage -- and, to judge from this story, it doesn't take a mega-super-hyper-terrorist to radicalize someone.

But the right is going to pare this down to a message you'll hear relentlessly soon: Gitmo release = more terror plots like this. Even though we broke this one up.

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