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Did The FBI Bust A Copycat Subway Bombing Plot?

Via ABC News:

July 26, 2005 - Five Egyptian men with maps of the New York City subway system and video of New York landmarks have been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, N.J., ABC News has learned.

FBI and law enforcement officials told ABC News the five men - four illegal immigrants and one law enforcement fugitive - were arrested Sunday night following a tip to the Newark Police Department. In addition to the subway maps and video, the men had train schedules and $8,000 in $20 and $50 bills.

The men were identified as: Karim Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 21; his brother Mahoud Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 19; Ahmed Mohamed Atta, 30; Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber, 34, and Mohamed Palat Anwar Jozain. When Newark authorities converged at the group's location at 246 Ferry St., Karim Ahmed answered the door and agreed to allow police to enter. Officers said they noticed the maps, and video cameras and Karim and his brother agreed to a search.

FBI officials said the men have no known link to a terror network but noted that none of them could adequately explain the items they had in their possession, the large amount of money or their reasons for being in the United States. Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber has been a fugitive since he jumped ship from an Egyptian flagged freighter in September 2000.

Jay Tea first told me about this ABC News radio report around noon, and we've been looking for the story online all afternoon. Obviously it's a developing story...


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Comments (33)

Gee, this should increase t... (Below threshold)
joe:

Gee, this should increase the popularity of those fashionable t-shirts saying "I do NOT consent to being searched."

Waiting for liberal charge of "PROFILING!!!" in 5....4....3....2....

ABC has it up as an exclusi... (Below threshold)
arb:
Waiting for liberal char... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Waiting for liberal charge of "PROFILING!!!"

It's not profiling when the cops get a tip. And as far as being searched, what do you think the odds are these guys would be picked up by a random search?

The millenium bombers were ... (Below threshold)
Joe:

The millenium bombers were caught that way. A border guard didn't like what he saw.

He must've PROFILED! HANG HIM!

Profiling? Why not? That's... (Below threshold)

Profiling? Why not? That's what they do with serial killers and other violent criminals. As long as they want to infringe a little on our 4th amendment rights, they may as well try to be effective.

I may be just an old fart, ... (Below threshold)
Ed:

I may be just an old fart, but isn't profiling what they used to call good police work?

I may be just an old far... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I may be just an old fart, but isn't profiling what they used to call good police work?

Sure, in that profiling is a way of determining the motivations and possibly the identity of a criminal based on the evidence and details of the crime. The profiling Joe is talking about is racial profiling, which is a sort of reverse, where you assume based on the characteristics of the person, namely the color of their skin, that they are likely to commit or have committed a crime. This sort of profiling is based, many say, on the racist belief that all black/brown/green/whatever people are criminals. Criminal profiling, say involving a serial killer, would look at the details of the crime and determine that the suspect is likely "white, late-20's to mid-30's, 6-feet tall, etc" based on physical clues and psychological models that the FBI creates. If the reverse were applied, where you assumed all late-20's white guys over 6-feet tall are serial killers, that would be more like racial profiling (and would get me pulled over a lot more). In any case, this wasn't profiling at all, but rather a tip called into police that they followed up on. Following tips is good, standard police work.

Whoever called the tip into the Newark police was certainly on his/her toes, and should probably get a medal or something.

This sort of profiling i... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

This sort of profiling is based, many say, on the racist belief that all black/brown/green/whatever people are criminals.

Or the racist belief that all whites are racists. Or that all white officers of a corporation are crooks.

Sorry, just superfluous commentary. Probably shouldn't have intervened. Move along.

By the way, Joe, Diana Dean... (Below threshold)
mantis:

By the way, Joe, Diana Dean (U.S. Customs agent) was suspicious of Ahmed Ressam because he hesitated in answering her questions, and acted generally nervous and suspicious, not because he was brown. That's how the millenium bombers were caught, not racial profiling.

which border did this gang ... (Below threshold)
jim:

which border did this gang cross undetected?

The story appears to indica... (Below threshold)

The story appears to indicate that four overstayed visas, and one jumped ship and was wanted by the police for that. I've been looking for more info since I first posted it about 14:20, but nothing other than this story.

Point to where I said ra... (Below threshold)
joe:

Point to where I said racial profiling, Mantis.

Take your time.

It's quite obvious what you... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It's quite obvious what you were talking about, Joe.

It's quite obvious what ... (Below threshold)
joe:

It's quite obvious what you were talking about, Joe.

Really? My, we are self-satisfied, aren't we? Liberal mind-reading at its best. Verdict first, trial later. VERY familiar from college days ("You disagree? RACIST!").

Let's see what happens when accusations of racial profiling start flying. What if, in a line of 300 passengers, only 3 look nervous? The rest are black, white, or east Asian; the three nervous dudes are Arab. You're a TSA inspector who's been told that the ACLU is waiting to sting you guys for supposed racial profiling; your supervisor is desperate to avoid this. You have noticed the three guys based on their being nervous. Do you:
a). Search the three dudes, and get accused of racial profiling.
b). Don't search the three dudes, and watch the planes hit some buildings on videotape a few hours later.

Many cops now have to fill out forms of every stop they make, including the race of the person they stop. They know perfectly well that if they stop too many black people or too many Arabs, they'll have a bad job evaluation or the "civil rights" bureaucrats will slam him. And if it gets into the newspapers, look out! "RACIST COP PROVEN BY DATA." So, the natural tendency is to balance the numbers, and never mind who's suspicious-acting.

Lucky for us, Ms. Dean noticed Mr. Ressam. In the time before 9/11 and overwhelming Muslim/Arab "profiling" whining, she felt that she was able to investigate properly.

In the time before 9/11 ... (Below threshold)

In the time before 9/11 and overwhelming Muslim/Arab "profiling" whining, she felt that she was able to investigate properly.

Yep. The most recent act of terrorism in the U.S. was still the one officially blamed on an Aryan-looking white guy.

Officially.... (Below threshold)

Officially.

Your point, McGehee? She i... (Below threshold)
joe:

Your point, McGehee? She investigated a guy who was acting funny, and didn't feel restricted by the fact he was Arab ("uh oh, bet it's an ACLU plant, can't appear insensitive...").

Terrorism in the U.S. Hmmmm. Do you mean the guy who shot up the LAX ticket counter? Or the DC snipers? Except they don't fit what you said....

Like I said, Joe, it was qu... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Like I said, Joe, it was quite obvious what you were talking about, and I was just pointing out its lack of relevance here. As far as the points you make about police and security being intimidated by riciculous demands in the name of political correctness, I agree. Thanks for pidgeonholing me though. In answer to your question I would search the three nervous arabs. Racial profiling exists, but I seriously doubt forms and quotas would do anything to stop it, and are obviously detrimental to effective police or security work.

In any case, my original point is that profiling and racial profiling are two very different things, and further neither of them had anything to do with this case.

As to your rant about verdicts and racists at the start, I don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Joe, he's referring to the ... (Below threshold)

Joe, he's referring to the odd facts and data surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing that suggests that there might be an Islamic connection.

Can't be, Chuck. That was ... (Below threshold)
joe:

Can't be, Chuck. That was ten years ago. He said "most recent."

As for Mantis, you put words in my mouth that weren't there. Try to be casual about it, but you made an assumption.

Whatever you say, nutjob. ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Whatever you say, nutjob.
Oops, I made another assumption.

"It's not profiling when th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"It's not profiling when the cops get a tip."

Very well then. Here's a tip for the cops : The terrorists will be Muslims and probably of Mid-Eastern heritage.

Now the cops have the tip, so they can profile.

<a href="http://www.freerep... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Comments on Free Republic about the ABC article, all day, and about the events themselves involved...some new information by some there.

Noticable to my first read was that one of the guys taken into custody was named "Mohamed Atta" (that'd be enough to get him on the radar, no less), and that the guys (some) were in their early twenties (one's nineteen), and yet identified themselves as 'electrical engineers' and that one of them was a fugitive -- but mostly, that the whole group had been previously identified to law enforcement so this arrest wasn't so much a new event as a conclusion to a longer standing, ongoing hunt. Such that, this isn't a case of randomly stopping a group by profiling but of a capture of wanted and previously identified (in the case of one, a fugitive) individuals.

However, I don't find profiling at all objectionable, and have explained why many times here and elsewhere. Most reasonable people in today's environment understand the general categories of personalities and behaviors as to potentials for harms and look within those characteristics accordingly. It's just intelligent enforcement.

Jim...they were captured in... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Jim...they were captured in New Jersey; one of the guys (the fugitive) arrived in the U.S. originally by stowaway on a freighter from Egypt, and has been in the country and on the lam ever since (a few years).

Take more of your time, man... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Take more of your time, mantis. Just read the article, follow the links...joe's no "nut case," not nearly.

I demand that the police gi... (Below threshold)
Darby:

I demand that the police give up searching for middle aged white priests who are pedophiles! I mean, that's racial profiling right? What about Serial Murderers? Mostly middle aged white men. C'mon, it's only racial profiling when it's not aimed at white people. Otherwise it's just good police work.

People who claim that racial profiling are hypocrites! They're racists themselves! By saying "Oh, we can't do that because they're Arab/Black/Hispanic/Chinese/Native American(Indians)" shows them to be racially motivated. Gotta keep it fair! Can't profile. Well like I said damnit. Keep it even. Don't automatically assume it's a white priest, or a white male that's selling the kiddy porn. Don't automatically assume it's a 30-35 year old white male that's been going around slaughtering the local hooker population. I mean, that's racial profilling right?

Racial profiling is needed in our current times. To para-phrase what someone else said about it in some other post. It wasn't middle aged balding white men who hijacked 4 planes... one for the Pentagon, one for each of the World Trade Towers, and one that the passengers took over and crashed in Penn.

Damnit... I'm sick of this pussyfooting around.

"Oh we can't racial profile against Arabic people... They'll get upset and attack us again!"

That's really what these people are afraid of. In a certain respect they are right.

They will attack us again if we racially profile against them... Additionally, they'll attack us again even if we don't... So I say bring it on let the profiling begin.

Harassment lasts only a few minutes.

The memory of 9/11 will last a life time.

D.R.B.

Profiling is what this is. ... (Below threshold)
sam:

Profiling is what this is. I am so disgusted by this story. FIRST a muslim will usually keep cash in the house because: #1 accepting intrest in a bank is against their religion, #2 JUST FOR THIS REASON! when they get in trouble for being here illegaly its very hard to go withdraw money from a bank. And excuse them for having a map!! Oh my god, let me go report any arab/pakistani trying to get to work.
Please try to remember that being here and making money at menial jobs WE WILL NOT DO, is a dream for them. Too many people eat from this money. Their families are just elated that they are here to help everyone back home. NOW they get taken back to their towns in shame, in handcuffs. Yes in handcuffs. For just being Egyptian. Now you tell me how much they are going to like this country after this experience.
I'm so upset for them. Is this what America has become??? This a witchhunt. And I'm just disgusted.

Can't be, Chuck. That wa... (Below threshold)

Can't be, Chuck. That was ten years ago. He said "most recent."

No, Joe -- Chuck's right. I should have said "most recent at the time," but I thought that would have been obvious.

Silly me.

NOW they get taken back ... (Below threshold)
joe:

NOW they get taken back to their towns in shame, in handcuffs. Yes in handcuffs. For just being Egyptian.

Dude, all five are violating the law, one as a fugitive and four as illegals.

Are you against enforcement of the law? If so, just say so.

People should note that the... (Below threshold)

People should note that these Egyptians were arrested in an apartment on Ferry Street in Newark's Ironbound section. That's about three blocks from Newark's Penn Station, one of the biggest rail hubs in the Northeast corridor.

If you read the whole AP st... (Below threshold)
ps:

If you read the whole AP story, http://www.wnbc.com/news/4774747/detail.html it says that the subway map turned out to be marked up so that one of the men, who worked at a NY restaurant, could find his way to work. These guys are here illegally, but it's just as likely that they came for the same reason as most immigrants--to try to make a better life for themselves and their families--as it is that they're terrorists. Let's not fan fear by not telling the whole story.

NOW they get taken back to ... (Below threshold)
sam:

NOW they get taken back to their towns in shame, in handcuffs. Yes in handcuffs. For just being Egyptian.

Dude, all five are violating the law, one as a fugitive and four as illegals.

Are you against enforcement of the law? If so, just say so.

Posted by: joe at July 27, 2005 09:16 AM

Okay yeah I am against treating non violent visa violators as criminals. I admit that. Handcuffing them and ruining thier entire futures is absolutely disgusting to me. These are innocents. Even the authorities admitted this fact.
Let them stay and bus tables, watch racks of clothes in 102 degree weather in the summer and below 0 in the winter in midtown manhattan. I dont know any AMERICAN that will do those jobs.
Give them a break man. Its not the America I'm proud of anymore.

that's what i'm talking 'bo... (Below threshold)

that's what i'm talking 'bout.

If you feel the need to nuke mecca come to my website




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