NY Times: "3 Held Overseas in Plan to Bomb New York Target"
Federal and local law enforcement authorities identified the main subject of the investigation as Assem Hammoud, 31, a Lebanese man who was arrested on April 27.
Uh, arrested on April 27??? Had the last ten Fridays already been pencilled in? Did we have to wait for the box office numbers on that Miami deal? Why does it come down to the end of July 4th Week Plus Two Weekends, Exactly?
Lebanese authorities wanted to publicize his arrest at the time, the official said, but American authorities sought to keep the issue quiet, believing the investigation would lead to other information.
Said "other information" apparently did not include the whereabouts of the five others still being sought, I guess. But at least we foiled an al-Qaeda plot just before they blew up some NYC tunnels, right?
The eight "principal players" planning the attack, the authorities said, had secured no financing, had gathered no explosives and had not visited New York — or even the United States — to conduct surveillance. At least one of the planners has been in Canada, the authorities said.
And Canada, you may know, is just to our north.
"The planning or the plotting for this attack had matured to the point where it appeared the individuals were about to move forward," [Special Agent in Charge of the New York office Mark J.] Mershon said.
"They were about to go to a phase where they would attempt to surveil targets, establish a regimen of attack and acquire the resources necessary to effectuate the attacks, and at that point I think it's entirely appropriate to take it down."
Y'know what I think? I think I've never heard of the Bureau acting so fast. I mean, you can't even wait until one suspect has arrived in the US so the Bureau can take him down personally? You can't wait to get all the suspects, or at least the majority, lined up? Well, maybe. You're the guys with the information needed to evaluate the risk, and never let it be said we humble citizens don't appreciate it. So, I guess it was this terrorist mastermind's incredibly sophisticated operation that encouraged you to take no chances, right?
The Lebanese Internal Security Directorate said Mr. Hammoud, going by the nom de guerre Ameer Andalusi, was initially noticed on an Islamist Web site used to recruit jihadis.
The Lebanese authorities located him based on the Internet Protocol address imbedded in his postings, which showed him to be in Beirut, the statement said. The authorities said Mr. Hammoud had sent out maps and plans for an operation to other members of his group over the Internet and said he had been planning to travel to Pakistan for a four-month training mission.
OK, great, we're trolling for terrorists stupid enough to recruit via chatrooms. Don't take this the wrong way; I've said all along that interdiction, not warfare, is our one good hope for preventing terrorist attacks. But overplaying this sort of thing for domestic consumption just risks making things worse for no reason, because the Ashcroft Outright Lie technique is no longer effective. If you have to admit these cells you smash consist of big talkers with no money, no hardware, and no connections, how 'bout doing it quietly?
Oh, sorry, a rational war on terror might slow the federal spigot some infinitesimal amount (see Drugs, The War On).