Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Terror Nobody Knows: Thwarted Attacks on the U.S

Friday , March 07, 2008
By Joseph Abrams,2933,335498,00.html

In July 2005, the Los Angeles Police Department caught a group of men who had been robbing gas stations in the area. While investigating, police uncovered something far worse: The gas station hits were bankrolling a terrorist plot to attack National Guard facilities, synagogues, the Israeli consulate and Los Angeles International Airport.

Deputy Chief of Police Michael Downing says the group was "closer to going operational at the time than anyone since 9/11."

Thomas P. O'Brien, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, says, "An untold number of lives may have been saved when this terrorist cell was dismantled." This story is hardly unique: Since Sept. 11, authorities have disrupted more than 20 publicly known plots against domestic U.S. targets, involving dozens of arrests at home and abroad.

Some of these plots are well-known, such as Richard Reid's failed "shoe bombing" in December 2001 and the liquid explosives plot of 2006, when British investigators uncovered a plan to carry bombs on airliners bound for the U.S. Each of those incidents permanently changed airport security protocols.

Then there was the plot to kill U.S. soldiers using assault rifles and grenades at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and the so-called "Lackawanna Six," who pleaded guilty to providing support to Al Qaeda. But others have passed by with little notice from the general public, as well as critics of government efforts to protect the U.S. from homegrown terror attacks.

Take, for example, Iyman Faris, of Columbus, Ohio, who plotted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and was convicted of conspiracy and providing material support for Al Qaeda in 2003.

Later that year 11 men with connections to Al Qaeda were discovered training for jihad in Virginia, using paintball games to simulate battlefield situations. In 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj were convicted of planning to bomb New York's Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a household name for his role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, also is known to have prepared little-known strikes against America's tallest building, the Sears Tower in Chicago, as well as the Empire State Building in New York and the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles.

In contrast, Dhiren Barot may not be a familiar name, although some security experts say he should be. An Indian convert to Islam, the Pakistan-based Barot planned a series of ruinous attacks on the U.S. and U.K, including the New York Stock Exchange and the IMF building in Washington, D.C. Barot was caught by British authorities in 2004 and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder.

Andrew McCarthy, director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, credits much of the success in preventing terrorist attacks at home to the pursuit of enemies overseas.
"There have been days in Iraq and Afghanistan," he says, "where we have killed or captured more terrorists than we did between 1993, when the World Trade Center was attacked, and 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed." "But," McCarthy cautions, "once you get them over here, the rules of the justice system apply."

Successful prosecutions are key to tackling terrorism, but they are not an easy process. Investigators prefer to wait for overwhelming evidence of a terrorist plot, and the timing is difficult. "It's more dangerous to let things play out because law enforcement is rarely, if ever, in control during these investigations," McCarthy says. Plots often are disrupted early and as a result, he says, "you don't often have well-developed cases."

But there have been successes, and the courts have been very active since Sept. 11. According to Sean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department, 527 defendants have been charged in terrorism or terrorism-related cases arising from investigations primarily conducted after Sept. 11.
Those cases have resulted in 319 convictions, with an additional 176 cases pending in court. It's not a perfect record for the Justice Department, but it still is a good one, says McCarthy, who prosecuted and convicted "blind sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman, ringleader of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

"The batting average is not as high as it was prior to Sept. 11," when most investigations focused on crimes already committed, "but that again is something that we are going to have to accept," McCarthy says.

Allison Barrie, a security and terrorism consultant and a contributor, agrees on the difficulties. "The evidence [in these trials] is always at its best at the 11th hour," she says. Waiting until the last moment is dangerous, but "you've got to weigh that against actually getting that prosecution." So far, that strategy has been decisive in preventing another attack on the scale of Sept. 11. "We've just been plain lucky," Barrie says.
And intelligence work hasn't prevented smaller attacks from being carried out.

On July 4, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old Egyptian national, opened fire at the El Al ticket counter at LAX, killing two people before a security guard killed him.

That same ticket counter later would be targeted by those L.A. gas station robbers, a homegrown terrorist group with roots in a California prison.
Homegrown groups often are difficult to detect, and the California cell was not found through careful intelligence work; the LAPD stumbled on them by accident. They might never have been discovered.
"The cliché is true," Barrie says. "Terrorists only have to be lucky once, but the good guys have to be lucky every time."

List of Thwarted Terror Attacks Since Sept. 11
Thursday , March 06, 2008
By Joseph Abrams

The following is a list of known terror plots thwarted by the U.S. government since Sept. 11, 2001.
• December 2001, Richard Reid: British citizen attempted to ignite shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.
• May 2002, Jose Padilla: American citizen accused of seeking "dirty bomb," convicted of conspiracy.
• September 2002, Lackawanna Six: American citizens of Yemeni origin convicted of supporting Al Qaeda. Five of six were from Lackawanna, N.Y.
• May 2003, Iyman Faris: American citizen charged with trying to topple the Brooklyn Bridge.
• June 2003, Virginia Jihad Network: Eleven men from Alexandria, Va., trained for jihad against American soldiers, convicted of violating the Neutrality Act, conspiracy.
• August 2004, Dhiren Barot: Indian-born leader of terror cell plotted bombings on financial centers (see additional images).
• August 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj: Sought to plant bomb at New York's Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.
• August 2004, Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain: Plotted to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat on American soil.
• June 2005, Father and son Umer Hayat and Hamid Hayat: Son convicted of attending terrorist training camp in Pakistan; father convicted of customs violation.
• August 2005, Kevin James, Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson and Hammad Riaz Samana: Los Angeles homegrown terrorists who plotted to attack National Guard, LAX, two synagogues and Israeli consulate.
• December 2005, Michael Reynolds: Plotted to blow up refinery in Wyoming, convicted of providing material support to terrorists.
• February 2006, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi and Zand Wassim Mazloum: Accused of providing material support to terrorists, making bombs for use in Iraq.
• April 2006, Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee: Cased and videotaped the Capitol and World Bank for a terrorist organization.
• June 2006, Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin, and Rotschild Augstine: Accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower.
• July 2006, Assem Hammoud: Accused of plotting to hit New York City train tunnels.
• August 2006, Liquid Explosives Plot: Thwarted plot to explode ten airliners over the United States.
• May 2007, Fort Dix Plot: Six men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey.
• June 2007, JFK Plot: Four men accused of plotting to blow up fuel arteries underneath JFK Airport in New York.
• March 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Mastermind of Sept. 11 and author of numerous plots confessed in court in March 2007 to planning to destroy skyscrapers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Why doesn't the media report on the success of the Bush Justice Department in keeping America safe? Isn't that something that American citizens would want to know, that their government is ACTIVELY pursuing terrorists who are committed to doing harm to America and Americans?

What could possibly be an explanation to not report success?
Doesn't take much to come to the conclusion that this is a success for the Bush administration and the one thing the liberal media is in conclusion with is reporting anything that could be construed as a "Bush success"

At least as far as liberals allow it to be success. Making the prosecution of terrorist as difficult as possible.

"Big Lizard" describes this much more eloquently than I on his blog

There is a reason the Bush administration has resisted, to the maximum extent possible, shifting primary responsibility for dealing with terrorists to the civilian court system... and it's not that Bush wants to shred the Constitution and imprison thousands of liberal activists in Gitmo: it's that terrorists are well-trained in using the rights and liberties of our own judicial system as a weapon against us.

They are well-versed in tying our courts into knots, playing the victim, and shifting blame to American foreign policy. And because the refutation of such lies would require revealing classified information that is vital to national security, the government is typically helpless to defend itself and its prosecution.

Alas, there is also a reason why the Democrats, to a man (and I include Hillary in that), will fight until the cows come home to roost to return the war on global hirabah to the courtrooms, as it was under President Bill Clinton: Because it's so much easier simply to charge terrorists in civilian court, then throw up one's hands at the mistrials and not-guilty verdicts and say "what can we do?" than to take on the duty oneself and actually achieve results.

Declaring that the proper way to fight terrorism is not with special forces and intelligence but subpoenas and indictments relieves a future Democratic administration from all responsibility. It takes the whole "terrorism thing" off the president's plate... allowing him or her to focus on more pleasant tasks, such as raising taxes on poor smokers in order to finance government-run health care for all middle-class children and their parents.

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