Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Oops! WashPost Editorial Cites October Bomb Plot on Metro in Support of Bag Searches. Too Bad it Was the FBI's Plot.

The Washington Post editorial page served up a new gaffe Tuesday in an editorial in favor of bag checks in the Metro system. In attempting to build the case for the searches, the Post argued:
... Metro remains an obvious and tempting target for terrorists who wish this county harm, and Metro officials would be remiss to ignore that fact. In October, federal officials arrested a local man in an alleged plot to bomb three Northern Virginia Metro stations.
That's nice of them to use the word "alleged" -- but it still gets it wrong. The October incident demonstrated that there was someone, Farooque Ahmed, who was willing to work on a terrorist plot, and that's indeed newsworthy. But as for the targeting of Metro specifically, that wasn't Ahmed's idea. It was the FBI's.

The Department of Justice's press release at the time said that Ahmed was "Arrested for Plotting Attacks." And there were a lot of headlines about a "metro bomb plot" -- making it seem like Ahmed was planning something, and that the US stopped it. But the Justice Department has not even accused Ahmed of actually initiating such a plot. The DOJ has said lots about how Ahmed assisted FBI agents in preparation to carry out such an attack, including allegedly casing stations and giving suggestions for where to place bombs. But as for actually coming up with the idea to attack the Metro, DOJ has not alleged that Ahmed did so. As the indictment put it, Ahmed "attempted to assist others whom he believed to be members of Al-Qaeda in planning multiple bombings" (p2) and "attempted to assist in the planning of multiple bombings" (p8).

The situation was clear enough that the AP was confident to report that "The bombing plot was a ruse conducted over the past six months, the FBI said..." And as the Washington Post put it in its news pages at the time:
But Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Loudoun County never suggested any attacks inside the United States, and the plot to attack Metro was hatched by government operatives posing as terrorists, according to court records unsealed Thursday.
The Post's editorial page is either too incompetent to understand the facts or just doesn't care about them if they get in the way of making their case.

Update: Thank you GGW for the link!


Post a Comment

<< Home