Jihad With Cheese in New Jersey
May 10, 2007
It seems only fitting that a terrorist plot supposedly based in part on information gleaned from pizza deliveries would get cheesier on closer inspection.
So as New Jersey broadcast and print news outlets are in the throes of a massive attack of Jack Bauer Fever over allegations that six bozos had a notion that they’d like to attack Fort Dix, it’s a little disconcerting to realize that the prime mover behind the plot appears to have been the very FBI informer who blew the whistle on the scheme:
The informer, sent to penetrate a loose group of men who liked to talk about jihad and fire guns in the woods, had come to be seen by the suspects as the person who might actually show them how an act of terror could be carried off.
Indeed, over the months that followed, as the targets of the investigation spoke with a sometimes unfocused zeal about waging holy war, the informer, one of two used in the investigation, would tell them that he could get them the sophisticated weapons they wanted. He would accompany them on surveillance missions to military installations, debating the risks, and when the men looked ready to purchase the weapons, it was the informer who seemed to be pushing the idea of buying the deadliest items, startling at least one of the suspects.
Of course we’re in the early stages of this investigation, and we haven’t seen all the information. But I have a hunch that when the smoke-blowing and ominous announcements are over, this case is going to look as overblown as the tale of the Miami terrorists, who turned out to be barely capable of blowing their own noses, much less the Sears Tower.
Meanwhile, the bar for dealing with this “new breed of terrorists” is being set awfully low:
“What we are witnessing here is kind of a brand new form of terrorism,” Jody Weis, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia field office, said in announcing the arrests Tuesday. He said threats today come from smaller, more loosely defined cells and individuals who may not be affiliated with al Qaeda but “are inspired by their violent ideology.”
So — the pizza plotters had no real plan, no real weapons (though they did shoot some paintball guns) and no real leader except the the guy sent to bust them. Yessir, that is indeed “a brand new form of terrorism, yep, uh huh. I’m just glad this is going to play out in court, where we’ll have a good shot at opening this case up to the sunlight.