Jihad with Extra Cheese

June 6, 2007

Out of a sense of humility and noblesse oblige, I held off from commenting on the alleged jihad plot to blow up JFK Airport and a substantial portion of Queens because, even though it sounded even more ridiculous than the pizza plot against Fort Dix, I am not omniscient. Even though the arrests and terror plot announcements to date sound like the work of a joint operation between the Marx Brothers and the Keystone Kops, overseen by Claude “Round Up the Usual Suspects” Rains in Casablanca, there’s always a distant possibility that somebody might be acting in good faith.

Gawd, am I a naive soul:

When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as “one of the most chilling plots imaginable,” which might have caused “unthinkable” devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.

The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.

And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf’s initial characterizations seem more questionable — some go so far as to say hyped.

“I think her comments were over the top,” said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland. “It was a totally overstated characterization that doesn’t comport with the facts.”

Greenberger said he has no argument with police pursuing and stopping the alleged plotters.

“I think they were correct to take this seriously,” he said. “… But there’s a pattern here of Justice Department attorneys overstating what they have. I think they feel under tremendous pressure to vindicate the elaborate counterterrorism structure they’ve created since 9/11, including the Patriot Act.”

Mauskopf declined to comment Tuesday, but Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) dismissed criticism of law enforcement as “the price of success when you haven’t been attacked in six years. We’ve gone from criticizing them for not doing enough immediately after 9/11 to now criticizing them too much.”

Ernest Hemingway wrote that in Africa, “everything is true at first light and a lie by noon.” Scare stories from the War On Terror appear to have an even shorter shelf life.

Or, to paraphrase Sidney Falco at the end of Sweet Smell of Success, these Bushies have such contempt for people, it makes them stupid. 


4 Responses to “Jihad with Extra Cheese”

  1. DBK Says:

    I knew it had to be crap. How did I know? There was that major gas line explosion in NJ a couple of years ago. That didn’t cause major havoc or slow the US economy. There have been major fuel explosions int he past. They didn’t cause the sort of havoc or chaos assigned as potentials of the JFK “terror plot”. And the plot itself sounded pretty half-assed. But the real tip-off was that not only have the details that have emerged sounded pretty lame, but whenever you get a news teaser about it where a breathless talking head says “New details on the JFK terror plot emerge”, you wait for the new details and it turns out to be videotape of one of the plotters taken “just minutes before his arrest”. This one is another crock.

  2. Caveat Says:

    Your last sentence pretty much sums it up.

  3. Dan Damon Says:

    Bullseye, Steven!

    I had my suspicions right away. DHS does have a huge budget to justify. Agence France Presse also put out a piece yesterday wondering aloud how serious this one is.

    I’m putting a link to your post in my CLIPS — an email listing of online stories of interest, pointing folks to a blog with aggregated links.

    Dan Damon
    dandamon at comcast dot net

    The needler in the haystack

    C L I P S
    Links to online stories for Central Jersey

    All the dotted lines lead to Karl Rove

  4. Scott Stiefel Says:

    My all-time favorite terror plot scare of the last 3 years is still the Miami Seven. “Yeah, we’re gonna blow up the Sears Tower, man! But we need to get money from al-Qaeda to buy shoes first.”

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