Monday, July 19, 2004

Terror Comes in Many Guises 

Xan of Corrente sniffed out an article from the Des Moines Register cataloguing some of Mr. Ashcroft's less-heralded recent triumphs in the war on terror:
Federal prosecutors say they built 35 terrorism-related cases in Iowa in the two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But a Des Moines Sunday Register analysis of the cases found that most defendants had questionable links to violent extremism. Those defendants who could be identified by the newspaper were, in most cases, charged with fraud or theft and served just a few months in jail.

The number of terrorism-related cases even took one court official by surprise.

"If there have been terrorism-related arrests in Iowa, I haven't heard about them," said U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt . . . .

Included among the 35 cases were:

• Four American-born laborers who omitted mention of prior drug convictions or other crimes when they were assigned by a contractor to a runway construction project at the Des Moines airport or when they applied for manual-labor jobs there.

• Five Mexican citizens who stole cans of baby formula from store shelves throughout Iowa and sold them to a man of Arab descent for later resale.

• Two Pakistani men who entered into or solicited sham marriages so that they and their friends could continue to live in the Waterloo area and work at convenience stores there.

The Iowa arrests were part of a national compilation of statistics cited by the U.S. Department of Justice in requests to Congress for $400 million this year for federal anti-terrorism efforts.

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