The Corner

Suspect in Baltimore Bombing Plot Is an American Convert to Islam

ABC-7 News in Baltimore is reporting on Twitter that the suspect in custody for plotting to blow up a military recruitment center is Antonio Martinez, an American convert to Islam who is now known as Muhammad Hussein.

UPDATE: We’ll have to wait to see what the arrest complaint says once the U.S. attorney files it publicly, but early indications are that this is a lot like the Portland case, involving an undercover investigation of a jihadist who eventually tried to detonate an inert bomb. Inside baseball on such investigations is that, while attempted bombing is a very serious crime, the law can be a bit tricky on what legally constitutes an “attempt,” as distinguished from “mere preparation” (which is not a crime … unless there is more than one plotter involved, in which case it is almost certainly conspiracy). Consequently, prosecutors and investigators try to leave no doubt about the would-be bomber’s intentions. An inert device allows them to prove a criminal attempt without endangering the public.

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