Thank God a teenager said something when he saw something.
A still-anonymous Circuit City staffer became suspicious while transferring a videotape to DVD. Six young Muslim men in the recording fired guns and yelled Allahu Akbar! — the “Let’s roll!” of the suicide-bomb set.
This wide-awake citizen called 9-1-1, thus triggering a 16-month investigation, infiltration, and incapacitation of the Fort Dix Six, the half-dozen Muslims, including three illegal aliens, who the FBI arrested May 8 on suspicion of planning to shoot up that New Jersey Army base.
“My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers,” Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer allegedly declared on a wiretap. “I do it in the name of Allah,” added defendant Serdar Tatar.
“U.S., no matter what they do, cannot catch my Uncle Benny,” Agron Abdullahu said affectionately of Osama bin Laden, according to comments to ABC News by this suspect’s co-worker, Bob Watts.
While watching videotaped terror strikes against American GIs, officials said the suspects exploded into laughter when a bomb severed one Marine’s arm.
Had that Circuit City clerk stayed quiet, these alleged terrorists might have soaked the Garden State in blood.
“Dude, I just saw some really weird sh**,” the clerk told a colleague, although he hesitated before speaking up. As the New York Post reported, he said: “I don’t know what to do. Should I call someone, or is that being racist?”
This case confirms why Americans should keep our eyes peeled for those who wish us dead. As the War on Terror grinds towards 9/11’s sixth anniversary, it is tempting to avoid all this and simply focus on comforting things, like barbecued steaks and richly aged bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alas, those who crave American blood plot carnage as we plan cookouts. But remember: concerned individuals already have foiled terrorists:
Employees at Access Storage near London’s Heathrow Airport wondered why an urbanite spent some $400 a month to warehouse about $180 of fertilizer. The authorities they contacted soon connected 1,300 pounds of this ammonium nitrate with Omar Khyam and four other Islamic fanatics, who they arrested on March 30, 2004. One week later, U.S. officials nabbed Mohammad Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-born, Queens-reared al-Qaeda agent. He pleaded guilty to providing these perpetrators “material support” from New York. The five English Muslims received life in prison last April 30 for plotting to bomb the Bluewater mall in Kent or London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub. Judge Sir Michael Astill called them “cruel and ruthless misfits who should be removed from society for its own protection.”
Then-recent Egyptian immigrant Abdel Rahman Mossabbah told two NYPD rookies on July 30, 1997 that his roommates planned to blast transit facilities the next day. Police quickly arrested Palestinian illegal immigrants Ghazi Ibrahim and Abu Maizer for preparing to blow up Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue subway station. According to the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Policing Terrorism, “an FBI agent testified that Abu Maizer said after his arrest that he wanted to bomb a B-train because of the large number of Jews from the Borough Park area of Brooklyn on that line.” Ibrahim and Maizer are serving life sentences.
Congress should adopt Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R., N. M.) bill to shield from litigation those who report suspicious activity. This legislation, which House Democratic leaders are treating like a rat at brunch, would scuttle lawsuits such as those filed against the so-called “John Does.” These passengers turned in the “Flying Imams,” six Muslim clerics pulled from a November 20 U.S. Airways flight after their on-board antics and anti-American statements in Arabic worried travelers, including a native-Arabic speaker who notified airline personnel.
Unfortunately, Pearce’s bill only applies to cases involving transportation. If a dozen bearded men in turbans and flowing robes unloaded dynamite and a catapult near an airport, they could not sue someone who dropped the dime on them. However, if the same scenario unfolded, say, outside an oil refinery, Pearce’s legislation would not block their subsequent litigation.
Pearce’s measure is a camel’s nose under the Islamofascist tent. This good start should expand to indemnify those who speak up, even in non-transit cases. Appropriately enough, it also only covers those who get involved in good faith. Those who scheme to harass innocents deserve no cover. Americans who make honest mistakes, and certainly those who identify people who intend mass murder, deserve protection and praise.
To that end, Congress also should authorize an Eternal Vigilance Medal to recognize civic-minded patriots whose extraordinary alertness stops terrorist cold. Assuming the Fort Dix Six are convicted, the first Eternal Vigilance Medal, and a handsome cash reward, should reach that dude in New Jersey who saw something, said something, and scuttled a conspiracy to slaughter scores of Americans
– Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. He collaborated with the Manhattan Institute on Herman Badillo’s One Nation, One Standard.