Terrorist Plot Stopped (Without Waterboarding)

Many Republicans, who are unable to distinguish between an episode of 24 and reality, have been predicting that Obama’s policies would lead to another terrorist attack. They not only fail to understand that torture is a poor way to stop terrorism but also believe that it is necessary.  What could have been a significant terrorist threat has been stopped by using conventional law enforcement and intelligence:

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, senior government officials have announced dozens of terrorism cases that on closer examination seemed to diminish as legitimate threats. The accumulating evidence against a Denver airport shuttle driver suggests he may be different, with some investigators calling his case the most serious in years.

Documents filed in Brooklyn against the driver, Najibullah Zazi, contend he bought chemicals needed to build a bomb — hydrogen peroxide, acetone and hydrochloric acid — and in doing so, Mr. Zazi took a critical step made by few other terrorism suspects…

If government allegations are to be believed, Mr. Zazi, a legal immigrant from Afghanistan, had carefully prepared for a terrorist attack. He attended a Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, received training in explosives and stored in his laptop computer nine pages of instructions for making bombs from the same kind of chemicals he had bought.

While many important facts remain unknown, those allegations alone would distinguish Mr. Zazi from nearly all the other defendants in United States terrorism cases in recent years. More often than not the earlier suspects emerged as angry young men, inflamed by the rhetoric of Osama bin Laden or his associates. Some were serious in intent. More than a few seemed to be malcontents without the organization, technical skills and financing to be much of a threat. In some cases, the subjects appeared to be influenced by informants or undercover agents who pledged to provide the weapons or even do some of the planning.

In two cases unrelated to Mr. Zazi in which charges were announced on Thursday, in fact, the subjects dealt extensively with undercover agents.

The Zazi case “actually looks like the case the government kept claiming it had but never did,” said Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at New York University law school.

It is far to early to tell what their overall record will be, but so far the government has been successful in stopping terrorism under Obama. We know what Bush’s record was at this point in his administration. The United States suffered the attacks of 9/11, with George Bush having ignored warnings from both the Clinton administration and his own intelligence agencies. Besides demonstrating extreme incompetence in ignoring the warnings, the Bush administration proceeded to play partisan politics with national security. If we really want to look at the track records of the two parties, not only does Obama have a better record than Bush, but so did Clinton, who was successful in stopping the planned millennium terrorist plots.

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    Earth says:

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