OK, I've just started to catch up on the news about the arrest in Miami of 7 men for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower, among other things. My first thought was "great, glad to see my federal tax dollars at work." Then I started to notice a few things that bothered me.
Here was the first thing. One of the spokesman referred to the defendant's planning as being in the "aspirational, not operational" phase. Then I learned that the arrests were made in Liberty City, and the defendants had last names that sounded Haitian. And they were arrested after spouting off to a federal informant.
Then, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police, and some officials from Sears, gave a press conference where they said there was "never any credible threat" to the Sears Tower.
So, we've successfully arrested a bunch of grab-ass low-income Haitians using an informant, who provided them with the camera that they used to take video of their intended "targets," for wanting to work for Al-Qaeda and talking out loud about how much they hate the USA. From what I've seen of the terror cell's wish list--"boots, uniforms, machine guns, radios, vehicles and $50,000 in cash to help him build an “’Islamic Army’ to wage jihad’”--they sound more like ghetto shakedown artists than terrorists.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad our government can arrest assholes like this before they become an imminent threat, but forgive me for being a little skeptical. Remember Jose Padilla, dirty bomber? There was lots of hoopla surrounding his arrest, but now 4 years later it's looking like the dirty bomb charges have all gone away.
This made me do a little googling of Jose Padilla. And guess what--there was a hearing on June 21st. The judge hearing the Padilla case directed prosecutors to turn over evidence to support their case, describing their indictment as "very light on facts."
It seems to me that this Miami arrest has done a very fine job of keeping Padilla off the evening news, and provided some much-needed happy news for the Bush administration.