November 28, 2007

From Arizona to New Jersey, it’s been a day of milestones in the War on Terra:

A plot by dozens of foreign terrorists who purportedly planned to attack Fort Huachuca with rocket propelled grenades and mines has proved unfounded, an FBI spokesman said Monday.

The threat, detailed by a local television station and The Washington Times after information was recently leaked to them, involved Iraqi and Afghan terrorists working with a Mexican drug cartel to smuggle themselves and weapons across the U.S. border.

The terrorists reportedly were targeting Fort Huachuca, home of the Army’s intelligence center, which trains soldiers in interrogation and is home to a testing facility for sensitive electronic equipment.

The intelligence advisory compiled by several federal agencies said the attack was scheduled to occur in May. The information was passed on to Fort Huachuca commanders, who changed security practices in an effort to avoid an attack.

But the attack never occurred and was the result of bad information, said Manuel Johnson, an FBI spokesman based in Phoenix.

A story first reported by a local television news outfit and The Washington Times? that should tell you something right there.

Remember the jihadis in New Jersey who were training with paintball guns in order to mount an attack on Fort Dix with information gained from a pizza delivery route? Turns out the government’s case may be built on a less than solid foundation:

A paid government informant who infiltrated a group of men accused of plotting an attack on soldiers at the Army’s Fort Dix was an Egyptian national on probation for bank fraud, an attorney in the case said Tuesday.

Less than two weeks after 38-year-old Mahmoud Omar was taken off probation and free to leave the United States, the FBI arrested the men who came to be known as the Fort Dix Six.

Until Tuesday, Omar was publicly known in court records only as CW-1 — for Cooperating Witness No. 1 — an Egyptian man older than the plot suspects who had been helpful to federal authorities in the past. A second paid informant remains unidentified.

The actions of CW-1 have raised questions of whether the government crossed the line and pushed the six men down a path they would not have otherwise followed.

During a court proceeding Tuesday, defense lawyer Michael Huff said that CW-1 was named Mahmoud Omar, and that on one tape he made for the government, Omar mentioned he was on probation.

Huff asked U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler to require the government to hand over additional details about why Omar was on probation. Kugler said the defense would get that information well before a trial.

Troy Archie, another defense lawyer, said he believes Omar was the informant and said Omar also helped authorities in the bank fraud case in 2001 that landed him on probation.

“He’s a paid informant,” Archie said. “There are some credibility questions . . . coupled with the financial.”

Greg Reinert, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, would not confirm whether Omar was the informant.

According to court documents, CW-1 railed against the United States, helped scout out military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms dealer, and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Fort Dix Six were arrested in May after a 15-month FBI investigation that relied heavily on two paid informants who secretly recorded meetings and telephone conversations in which the suspects talked of killing “in the name of Allah.”

Since I try not to succumb to cynicism, and since I like to think the people given the duty of protecting America aren’t a bunch of clowns who’ve seen too many episodes of 24, I try to keep an open mind when the latest narrowly averted terror plot gets announced.

But time and again, I have to conclude that all we’re getting are rejected script ideas for Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris movies.  


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