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We may have been lucky, but we're not safer.

Reader comment on item: Stupid Terrorists

Submitted by Pat (United States), Oct 4, 2005 at 16:09

I'm glad you see the silver lining, but I can't take my eyes off the cloud.

Mahmoud Maawad was not brought down by observant citizens or good counterterrorist operations. It appears that what prompted the call to the FBI was that he had ordered merchandise using a bad credit card. He had been arrested previously, but no one discovered he was here illegally. He worked off the books and no one noticed. It took a company with financial interests to bring him to the attention of federal authorities.

Michael Wagner was stopped for a traffic violation, but how was he able, in a post 9/11 world, to accumulate flight training manuals, a simulator and lots of other items not found in the average home with no one noticing? We got lucky, but his arrest doesn't make me feel safer. It only illustrates the danger we face.

A man who had been ordered deported to Brazil in December, 2001 and was listed in the FBI database was able to obtain an identity card permitting him to paint GWB. That this happened post 9/11 and in the New York area is worrisome. It further illustrates the shortcomings in our security environment.

Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Salameh were caught after the fact, not before. They and their co-conspirators kept out of trouble and out of the sight of law enforcement until after their truck bombs went off. Carelessness may have led to their arrests, but it didn't stop them from carrying out their plans.

Maybe these terrorists were dumb (or careless), but we shouldn't take comfort from that and we shouldn't expect more of the same in the future. It will be our undoing.
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