Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Business Sites Averted?

From Alan at Command Post:

CNN TV is reporting that British authorities have charged the 8 terrorist suspects, seized two weeks ago, with conspiracy to commit murder and a public nuisance.

Also of interest: authorities report the men planned to use radioactive, chemical, toxic, and explosive substances, and that their target was not the UK … rather, it was the United States, with specific targets including the NYSE, IMF, and CitiGroup.

More as it comes online …

Coincidentally, those are the same sites targeted by the non-existent terrorists in the non-existent plot that Tom Ridge announced in his blatantly political attempt to distract attention during the Democratic National Convention, using old, irrelevant information.

I question the timing of CNN’s report.

Update (1115):

Reuters – Britain Charges Suspects in U.S.-Linked Terror Case
ABC (Australia) – UK charges terrorism suspects with murder plot

Britain has charged eight men with conspiracy to murder and other terrorism charges, some of them relating to plans of US buildings that could have been used to organise attacks. The charges were brought two weeks after the suspects were captured in dramatic raids that followed alerts in the United States and arrests in Pakistan. Three were charged with possessing documents that could be useful to terrorists, including plans of buildings in New York, New Jersey and Washington DC that were the subject of the alerts earlier this month in the United States.

***

US officials have said the men include at least one senior figure in Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network. Police named the eight as Dhiren Barot, 32, Omar Abdur Rehman, 20, Mohammed Ui Haq, 25, Abdul Aziz Jalil, 31, Nadeem Tarmohammed, 26, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, 24, Quaisir Shaffi, 25 and Junade Feroze, 28. Barot, Tarmohammed and Shaffi were charged with possessing documents useful to someone planning an act of terrorism. In the case of Barot, this included “reconnaissance plans” of the Prudential building in New Jersey, the stock exchange and Citigroup headquarters in New York, and IMF headquarters in Washington. The buildings were the subjects of an alert declared by the United States two days before the men were arrested.

FILED UNDER: General, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Eight Charged in England for Terrorist Plot
    According to the BBC, eight suspects rounded up two weeks ago have been charged with conspiracy to murder.
    They were also charged with conspiracy to commit a public nuisance by using radioactive material, toxic gas, chemicals or explosives.

    [snip]

  2. legion says:

    Obviously, we need to send the First Lady to more suspected terrorist targets… she’s more effective than Ashcroft!

  3. Joseph Marshall says:

    Fine as far as it goes. But no word yet, I see, of anyone actually holding any “radioactive materials, explosives, or toxic substances”–only maps and terrorist cookbooks. I also note the actual apprehension was way back on August 3.

    So, at best, we have nipped this in the daydream stage, and, at worst, we have sent still more warnings to the cell with the deadly stuff to go completely to ground.

    I just hope MI-5 already knows where to look for them….

  4. Terror averted?
    Joyner’s got a nice little rundown on the arrest of eight terrorist suspects and their list of targets — which sounds suspiciously like the targets released by Tom Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security.

    You remember? The one that was des…

  5. Terrorists and Financial Institutions
    James Joyner and Command Post describe breaking news that British police have charged eight suspected terrorists, including Dhiren Barot, who possessed “‘reconnaissance plans’ of the…

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    What does it take to prove conspiracy to commit murder in the U. K.? Over here it would take more than a couple of drawings and maps (as implied by Mr. Marshall, above).

  7. LJD says:

    At issue here is not whether we caught the terrorists holding any bomb making materials. Instead, the fact that this report discredits the claims that the terror alert was completely false and for political purposes only. (It seems the Accusers were describing their own actions). These politically motivated attacks are extremely dangerous to our security in this War on Terror.

    It will be interesting to see how those who made the claims will attempt to weasel out of their self proclaimed omnipotence regarding politics and the War on Terror.

    I just don’t know what it will take to please these pessimists (leftists)… With all of the progress being made, nothing is good enough. True, we can always do better, BUT I would say capturing eight terrorists before they had a chance to strike, substantiating the alerts by the DHS, further evidence that the DHS is actually doing a good job of keeping us safe(We have had NO attack post-9/11), is all in a good-days-work.

    I can’t wait until the Iraqi WMD trail is followed to Syria, Iran, or Sudan. Then the doubters can all open a big fat can of shut-the-hell-up. Think about WHO was responsible for the delay in going to war and how it allowed Saddam all the time he needed to play his shell game.

  8. Joseph Marshall says:

    As I understand it, the Brits do indeed have tougher laws in this regard, and what has been listed is sufficient evidence to try for conspiracy. Something along the lines of our “possession of criminal tools” over here, I should imagine. If I’m wrong on this I invite correction.

    As to the “alert”, look at it this way: The only rational reason (putting politics aside) all that’s happened so far overseas required the parade of paramilitary cops around those buildings is that we DON’T KNOW if anyone is out there with the real explosives or the real low-level radioactive waste.

    Since we don’t know, when do we stop guarding the buildings? So shouldn’t we be making plans, for example, to make central DC and downtown Manhattan totally pedestrian for “security purposes”? I’ve heard of no such plans.

    There is more to “security preparations” than apprehensions and “alerts”. If we are truly serious about this being a long term “war” that extra level of preparation would be a high priority. But that extra level clearly doesn’t make breaking news headlines or juicy photo-ops.

    Do you suppose that’s why we hear so little of our government doing any of it?

    “I just don’t know what it will take to please these pessimists…”

    If this is a real war, what I want to see is some serious and proactive changes in the way we do business. For example, serious inspection of ALL the cargo coming into this country by land or water. Serious licencing, tracking, and controls on possession of large quantities of ammonium nitrate, the various gunpowders, and low-level radioactive waste would be a good idea. Still another good idea: complete transparency of all non-cash financial transactions to government scrutiny at the financial institution.

    But I don’t expect such serious proactive proposals to be forthcoming anytime soon.

  9. Wow, so they caught these guys based on information that was three years old. Pretty cool.

  10. LJD says:

    “…we DON’T KNOW if anyone is out there with the real explosives or the real low-level radioactive waste.”

    Yes, we may never know. All we can do is work with what we have. This is the nature of the War on Terror. Would you rather have us know who has the stuff, but not take action? Should we wait until we have a smoking gun, and thousands of dead Americans, to declare that we now have an air-tight case? (Of course the terrorist will likely already have blown himself up). Also, why does the Left want to extend MY Constitutional protections to these foreign invaders?

    “Since we don’t know, when do we stop guarding the buildings?”

    Perhaps never. Someday everyone may understand that our world changed on 9/11. Paramilitaries may become a permanent part of some installations, which in the case of nuclear power plants and other high value targets, is probably a great idea. We are a free and open society. As long as we choose to let foreigners flock to our country, we leave ourselves open to attack. I’m just glad I don’t live in Israel.

    “…that extra level clearly doesn’t make breaking news headlines or juicy photo-ops. Do you suppose that’s why we hear so little of our government doing any of it?”

    I will refer to an earlier discussion regarding public disclosure of security measures. Much more is going on behind the scenes than the “big story” you hear from Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.

    “Serious inspection of ALL the cargo coming into this country by land or water…”

    I agree wholeheartedly. I also believe the DHS is working on this monumental task. How about taking a look at the sheer volume, too? Why do our consumer choices always turn us to boatloads of Chinese made garbage that inevitably ends up in mountainous landfills?

    “…Complete transparency of all non-cash financial transactions to government scrutiny at the financial institution.”

    Sounds like Big Brother to me. How will this information be used? Who will have access to it? What securities do individuals have regarding their privacy? Haven’t the terrorists already been found to have access to huge amounts of U.S. currency? I thought liberals were supposed to be against the Patriot Act? Most often they only seem interested in protecting the “rights” of the illegals accused of terrorism, while it’s perfectly okay to snoop on your American-born neighbors.

  11. Like Velcro to Idiocy
    Remember the terror alert earlier this month? Oliver Willis rants wrote: The Bush administration is using the terror alert system to further their political fortunes. The information relating to the current alert is from three years ago. Now if the…

  12. McGehee says:

    Obviously, we need to send the First Lady to more suspected terrorist targets… she’s more effective than Ashcroft!

    LOL! Good one!