Canadian Police: Foiled Terror Plot Investigation Not Over

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Canadian authorities say we could see more arrests in connection with the alleged plot to blow up buildings in Ontario that busted 17 people over the weekend in Canada and 18 suspected Islamic militants in other countries, including the United States. Police say they are now searching through the evidence seized in the raids and the investigation is far from finished.

We begin our "Big Story" coverage with Canadian terror analyst Eric Margolis.

So, Eric, would you lay out what it was that the Canadian authorities found in Canada and what its connection was to the United States?

ERIC MARGOLIS, CANADIAN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, we don't have all the details yet. In fact, very few. But as far as we know, the intercepts of e-mails and telephone intercepts led the Canadians or the Canadians were led to it by U.S. authorities to a group of like-minded young men, most 19 or actually 17 years old at the time, two years ago. And they have been following this group who have been in communication with at least two people in Atlanta and with groups in at least five different countries here in Europe. They were planning, we are told, to blow up a series of government buildings in Ontario, perhaps in Ottawa, certainly in Toronto.

GIBSON: All of these people, at least in Canada, were surrounding one particular mosque and there was one of those arrested who was much older than the others, who is 43 years old. Do they think that is the guy who was sort of the ringleader or leader of the ring?

MARGOLIS: Well, it looks like that from what skimpy information we have. This case bears an uncanny resemblance to the bombings in London last summer. I was there when it happened, where they rounded up a group of people from the Finsbury mosque in London where they had a radical imam preaching violence to the group. It looks like the same thing happened in Toronto.

GIBSON: What's the connection in the United States, to Georgia in particular?

MARGOLIS: Well, I think it was a month ago, a little longer than that, U.S. authorities arrested two young men in Georgia, Muslim Americans, who had been to Toronto and who had met with these people now who were just arrested. And this was the beginning of the trail, I think, that led them or at least confirmed to them that they had caught some people who were up really to serious criminal intent.

GIBSON: And Eric, the other thing is that this is at least in Canada, these are Canada-born people. They are not immigrants, correct?

MARGOLIS: That's correct, they are Canadian born. Their parents were immigrants. And what's so disturbing about this is it's repeating the pattern of the Madrid bombing and of the London bombing in that it was not a foreign international terror organization that organized this crime but it was local homegrown angry young men, a handful of them who decided to commit violent acts. It's very worrisome because Canada's fourth largest ethnic community comes from Pakistan and India, Muslims, a very large community and they feel very much under threat now.

GIBSON: Thanks very much. Canadian terror analyst Eric Margolis, coming to us tonight from Paris. Eric, thanks.

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