The terror plot that wasn't
You knew it, I knew it, now finally the government knows it: The doofuses known as the "Liberty City Seven", who were arrested last year and charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower, were not exacly poster children for terrorism. Their trial ended today, with one acquittal and deadlocks on the remaining six defendants.
I'm all for stopping terrorist plots before they get anywhere near the operational stage, but from the beginning it seemed obvious that these jokers not only weren't anywhere near operational, it would have taken a minor miracle for them to have gotten there -- if indeed that was their goal.
That being obvious, it was exceedingly foolish of the government -- in the personage of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who personally announced the "foiling" of the plot -- to put its credibility on the line with this case, insisting that the group was "emblematic" of the future face of Al-Qaeda, practically Public Enemy Number One.
Even back then, the flimsiness of this case -- and the apparent incompetence of the defendants -- led many to conclude that the government's description of the terror threat was overblown. Today's verdict will simply reinforce that, and mean the government will have a harder time getting people to take real threats seriously.
To be sure, the verdicts weren't an exoneration of the defendants. The acquitted man, Lyglenson Lemorin, had left the group months before the arrests. The deadlock over the other six is neither conviction nor exoneration. Clearly, at least some jurors thought there was enough evidence to convict each of them. And the government has vowed to retry them.
If the government seriously believes they were a threat, then it should do so. But it should take a good hard look at the evidence and decide if that's truly the case. High-profile prosecutions of ineffective wannabes undermines the fight against terrorism in the long run.
Liberty City Seven, terrorism, politics, midtopia