Some say that the seven men arrested for planning terrorist acts from a warehouse in Miami are just a bunch of friends — young men finding their way and getting together to read religious writings.
That may be. They will have their day in court.
Still, I find this case intriguing: Young, disenfranchised men with no clear ties to Al Qaeda have — in the past — killed innocent civilians in the subways of Spain and London and have plotted to kill those in the halls of Parliament in Ottawa.
Terror experts have told us for some time that the face of Al Qaeda is morphing. It has become splinter groups who are unhappy with the economic or social status that life has dealt them. Now, being out of work doesn't make you a potential terrorist. But if the government is accurate about the statements attributed to individuals in this group, then they should and will be investigated. These terrorists whose acts we've witnessed around the world seek the recognition of Usama — even if they've never met him or trained in Afghanistan.
The government may have a hard time proving that these young men were anything other than evil dreamers — that their spoken desire to "kill all the devils" and pull off an event as big or bigger than Sept. 11 was just a pipe dreams. But maybe not. I fear that a group like this one — or one with similar goals — will succeed one day. It doesn't take much to build a bomb. Just ask people in Oklahoma City.
Friday's New York Times front page stated: "Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror."
This is almost like saying: "The CIA Secretly Scans the World, Hunting for Terrorists." Why would anyone be shocked to learn that the government is actively seeking — and succeeding in many cases, according to The Times piece — to find out who is funding acts of terror?
The piece also clearly states that, "The data does not allow the government to track routine financial activity, like ATM withdrawals... or to see bank balances." It goes on to say that government officials told The Times that, "Because of privacy concerns and the potential for abuse, the government sought the data only for terrorism investigations and prohibited its use for tax fraud, drug trafficking or other inquiries."
Okay. If there is a dark underbelly to this story and information is being abused, that should be investigated. There doesn't appear to be so far. So in the meantime, I'll be glad that the government is doing everything within its power to stop the flow of money to terrorists.
Ask yourself this: If a terrorist act were to happen again here and it turned out that the people who carried it out were engaged in monetary transactions that could have been uncovered, would you be outraged that they were not discovered?
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