By Brian | June 23, 2006 | Share on Facebook
I was on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center on 2/26/93 when the first bomb went off, and I was in 195 Broadway about two years later when some nutcase tried to blow up the subway with a mayonaise jar filled with gasoline. So it comes as no surprise that two weeks after my first visit to the Sears Tower, a group of terrorists got caught discussing a plan to blow it up. Not that I’m taking any of this personally or anything…
Apparently, these guys had “aspirations, but not the means” to pull off such an attack. They were caught when they approached an FBI informant who they thought was an AL Qaeda operative.
A few thoughts:
1) These guys weren’t necessarily all that dangerous (although they could have been if they had actually reached Al Qaeda), but we slam our intelligence agencies when they screw up, so it’s good to see them get a pat on the back when they nail something cold.
2) For those who believe privacy concerns have gone out the window, I believe this is the first time in history that an FBI director took time to explicitly state that “whenever we undertake an operation like this, we would not do it without the approval of a judge. We’ve got search warrants and arrest warrants and the like.” This is also a good thing.
Even now (4:15PM, EDT), it’s only the number two story, behind (another) scare story about (another) secret program to collect data about American citizens (this time, financial data). These stories, which are so full of news cataloging that they’re starting to look like they come from a template, are becoming more and more obscure and less and less relevant to the issue of privacy they supposedly address.
Of course, various Democratic congressmen and an ACLU official blindly condemmed the program as “abuse of power” and the like, while showing little or no knowledge of what the SWIFT network actually is. The Times, amazingly, did so little research on it, that it doesn’t even seem to know that it’s an acronym (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), and keeps spelling it in proper case (“Swift”).