Papers Portray Plot as More Talk Than Action
The plot as painted by law enforcement officials was cataclysmic: A home-grown Islamic terrorist had in mind detonating fuel storage tanks and pipelines and setting fire to Kennedy International Airport, not to mention a substantial swath of Queens.So was some potential disaster really averted? The answer appears to be NO.
“Had the plot been carried out, it could have resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths and destruction,” Roslynn R. Mauskopf, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said in a news release that announced charges against four men. She added at a news conference, “The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded are just unthinkable.”
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly then stepped to the lectern with a vision only a bit less grim.
“Once again, would-be terrorists have put New York City in their crosshairs,” he said. Mr. Kelly said a disaster had been averted.
But the criminal complaint filed by the federal authorities against the four defendants in the case — one of them, Abdel Nur, remained at large yesterday — suggests a less than mature terror plan, a proposed effort longer on evil intent than on operational capability.Yes indeed, they captured some more wannabes.
Some law enforcement officials and engineers also dismissed the notion that the planned attack could have resulted in a catastrophic chain reaction; system safeguards, they said, would have stopped explosions from spreading.
No one would second-guess the authorities for pursuing and arresting suspected plotters. An enduring lesson that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have taught prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the danger of inaction.Should these nut cases been investigated and arrested? The answer of course is yes. The problem of course is the spin. They did not break up a real terrorist plot and I object to the spin that they did. I for one don't feel any safer because they can capture some wannabes. When they catch someone who is smart enough to come up with workable plot and smart enough to carry it out I might have some more confidence.
But as with many post-9/11 terror plots, the line between terrible aspiration and reality can get lost in a murky haze.
In case after case, from what authorities said was a dirty bomber to the Lackawanna Six, federal prosecutors hail arrests of terrorists and disruptions of what they describe as sinister plots. But as these legal cases unfold, the true nature of the threats can come into question.