So, what about this new terrorist plot? Are we buying it? I haven’t seen a lot of evidence one way or the other yet, but given law enforcement’s history of picking up raving lunatics and selling them to the American public as dangerous terrorists, I’m a little wary of anything they pitch to us. A big part of the problem is that, for every claim that sounds like it might be legit, there are 50 that sound highly suspect. From today’s LA Times:
The affidavit also alleges that authorities found images on Najibullah Zazi’s laptop of nine pages of notes on making explosives and fuses, apparently in his own handwriting.
Okay, so far, so good. That does sound pretty suspect. But then:
In addition, the affidavit alleges that authorities have found other information linking Zazi to the suspected plot, including his fingerprints on a small electronic scale and double-A batteries, which are often used in making bombs.
I love how reporters never bother to question anything, ever. “Small electronic scales” and “double-A batteries” are often used in making bombs. That sentence could be changed to read “… a small electronic scale and double-A batteries, which are often used in making cookies” or “… a small electronic scale and double-A batteries, which are often used in sending mail.” You could go into my apartment right now and find my fingerprints on a small electronic scale and double-A batteries. And that’s the top, A1, ultimate best evidence they have, is a scale and some batteries. One of the strongest pieces of evidence that Zazi is a terrorist, as reported by the LA Times with apparently no irony, is that his fingerprints were found on double-A batteries. The FBI spent money to dust a pair of double-A batteries to determine that the suspected terrorist touched them. Why are they bothering to dust these things, anyway? Didn’t they find them in his apartment? Can’t you just assume that the guy’s fingerprints will probably be on items that he keeps in his apartment?
And how about the way this plot was uncovered?
Zazi, who had been monitored by authorities for some time after returning from a trip to Pakistan, was stopped on a New York bridge on Sept. 10 after driving from Colorado on what he said was a trip to settle a business deal that had gone sour.
New York police checked his car and allowed him to leave, according to court documents. Soon after, police showed pictures of Zazi and several others to Afzali, the imam of a Queens mosque who had worked as a police informant in the past.
Zazi and his father later talked by phone with Afzali, who told them of his contact with New York City police detectives.
Zazi flew back to Colorado and agreed to be questioned by FBI agents, who interviewed him for three days. Zazi abruptly stopped cooperating with authorities on Saturday, prompting his arrest.
So let me get this straight. The FBI started monitoring him because he took a trip to Pakistan. He came back to America, drove from New York To Colorado. They stopped him on his return trip while he was driving on a New York bridge … why? Did they think he was going to blow it up? I have been on many bridges in New York, and I can tell you that they are not very convenient places to stop a car. They couldn’t wait until he got off the bridge? Or were they just stopping every Muslim guy who drove across a bridge on September 10?
So then they check his car and let him go. Later, they show his picture to an imam at a Queens mosque, “who had worked as a police informant in the past.” Who was this informant informing them of “in the past”? It sure doesn’t seem like the FBI ever arrests terrorism suspects on the down low, since every time there has ever been a terrorist probe on even the shakiest ground it immediately becomes front page news. There was that thing at JFK a few years ago, which was complete nonsense. Did the imam have anything to do with that? If so, my vote would go for “unreliable.”
Okay, but so they talk to the imam, who says, “yes, I know that guy who you stopped on the bridge.” Then the imam calls Zazi and says, “some New York City cops were asking me about you.” Zazi says, “what the fuck? Lemme talk to them.” He then flies back to Colorado because New York City cops were asking about him (what?!?) and voluntarily talks to the FBI. But he stops talking “after 3 days.” I mean, really, can you blame him? How many fucking days can someone spend talking about a pair of double-A batteries?
Here’s the kicker: the imam? Afzali? They promptly turned around and arrested that guy, too! “Thanks for the info, bro … you’re going down!”
Oh, and there’s also this:
In announcing the charges on Sunday, Assistant Atty. Gen. David Kris emphasized that authorities had “no specific information regarding the timing, location or target of any planned attack.”
Well. I don’t know if this terrorism plot is real, and I don’t really care. Clearly, the FBI is out there doing their job, stopping Muslims from owning scales and batteries, driving across bridges, and being informants to the FBI. And for that, we should be grateful.
In other political news, this is somewhat chuckle-worthy: