Another Enemy Within (II)
The complacency of many of Americans who equate the lack of attacks since September 11th, 2001 with safety was again blurred by the announcement of the raids by the Joint Terrorism Task Force on a suspected al Qaeda connected cell living in Queens New York.
Senator Charles Schumer made a reassuring statement after his briefing by law enforcement officials.
"The things I can tell you are these. First, there was nothing imminent. Second, there was nothing related to President Obama's visit. Third, the FBI is very good at tracking down people who might cause some kind of problem and this was preventitive. In other words, preventing something from happening instead of cutting off something quickly that might happen immediately."
While calling the threat very real, no evidence of weapons has been found so far. The raids, for now, are being characterized as "preventative." With search warrants in hand the raids were conducted on three locations. They say that cell phones were confiscated (should be pretty revealing actually). One raid was on a location at 41st Street and Parsons Boulevard, not too far from Citi Field, the new home of the NY Mets. Anyone who knows that section, understands that it is a very "melting pot" area
Espousing a militant ideology aligned with al Qaeda in no way suggests that these suspects were in fact aligned with al Qaeda. But it does continue to reinforce the reality that direct connection to al Qaeda (as in Al Qaeda in Iraq, or al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Algeria) or newly, al Qaeda's clone in Somalia) does not suggest that these groups are either inept or incapable of wrecking havoc.
We need to get it through our complacent minds that this so-called "Overseas Contingency Operation," formerly known as the Global War on Terrorism will not cease simply by a change in words. In fact, a point was made at a meeting last week that the erasing of the word "war" from the description of our on-going counterterrorism efforts might actually deligitimize some of the tactics we might employ if that word is reinstated (see Jeffrey Addicott's Terrorism law: The Rule of Law and The War on Terror).
No, this is not a marketing campaign for the book, but words indeed do matter. And whether connected directly or indirectly by ideology, would-be terrorists are here. No, this is not a call for pre-emptive arrests. But it is a reinforcement of the importance of vigilence and on-going investigations of situations, people and things that simply "don't look right." Looking the other way will not work.
And finally, a question must be asked, "how did these suspects gain entry to the United States?"