Home > Political Ranting > In the Absence of Finding Actual Terrorists

In the Absence of Finding Actual Terrorists

June 4th, 2007

So I’m waiting for the details to come out on the latest “terror plot” which was “foiled” by authorities. It’s pretty much inevitable by now: first, the story is released by the government and the media goes wild. Terror plot! Another 9/11! Maybe even bigger than 9/11! Fiendish masterminds!

And then, a week or two later, or maybe even sooner, after all the scare and sensationalism has ebbed, we find out that the “terrorists” were nothing but a bunch of sorry losers who couldn’t attack their own arses with a wad of toilet paper. Like the flakes in Miami who were supposed to be capable of blowing up the Sears Tower, but in reality couldn’t even afford to buy boots, and their only link to al Qaeda was actually an FBI agent who virtually egged them on. Then there was the plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with acetylene torches, an idea that was almost comically unfeasible, and the “Fort Dix Six,” a laughably bad plan which had a small group of meagerly-armed “terrorists” busting into a heavily-armed military base and probably getting shot down before they could say “boo.”

The Columbian Journalism Review wrote a good roundup of the whole phenomenon of the scares:

The Bush administration’s Justice Department has a vested interest in portraying every “plot” it busts as the next 9/11, regardless of how embryonic or feeble. It serves as a distraction from the administration’s failures in Iraq and elsewhere, it perpetuates the state of fear that has served this White House well in recent years, and it justifies the massive Homeland Security bureaucracy. Journalists, meanwhile, are at a decided disadvantage when trying to determine the seriousness — or lack thereof — of the threat, because the government holds all the cards.

And the most recent plot is now showing the same early signs of a “terror plot” that never would actually have come to anything:

Officials viewed the alleged plotters as a credible threat, but sources said they apparently did not have the technical savvy to carry out the plot.

One official said the plan “was not technically feasible.” Officials added that the alleged plotters had no explosives and had not yet figured out a way to get some.

One could argue that plotters do not look as menacing in their early planning stages, and it would be foolish to let them get close to actually pulling off an attack. However, the people who have been arrested so far have pretty much all turned out to be buffoons incapable of doing any real damage. Worse, in the few cases where the case may have led to something, like the alleged terrorists making connections to actual terror groups, where the surveillance could have had some value, the Bush administration has jumped the gun and made arrests for publicity’s sake at the expense of following up leads. That’s what happened in the “Water Bottle” terror plot, not to mention that the whole concept of liquid-based binary explosives was unworkable in real life anyway.

Probably that’s the level of credibility that we’ll see in the latest “foiled terror plot,” essentially some “jihadist wannabes” with an elaborate scheme that would never work in practice, inept to the point of being tracked by the feds for years and more or less encouraged by them, and eventually arrested because either they failed to draw any serious leads and/or the administration needed another terror scare to control the latest negative news cycle. That, and Bush recently fell to another low stall in the polls.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. Geek
    June 5th, 2007 at 20:36 | #1

    I agree with most of what you say, but the story “Terror in the skies” you linked to underplays the consequences of a depressurized cabin. What happens is that the oxygen decreases, and depending on how hight the plane is, extreme freezing temperatures enter the plane. Maybe it won’t blow up the plane, but the number of fatalities would be more than “one or two.”

Comments are closed.