Saturday, July 08, 2006
The terrorists sought to drown the Financial District as New Orleans was by Hurricane Katrina, sources said. They also wanted to attack subways and other tunnels.Far be it from us to minimize the threat posed by these "aspirational" levee-busters, but we must admit that the detail we have highlighted above leads us to question whether our friends and protectors in the Bush administration take all this quite as seriously as we do. Ringleader Assem Hammoud was reportedly arrested by Lebanese authorities on April 27; keeping that fact in mind, please note the dateline of the retroactively inexplicable item that follows:
Counterterrorism officials are alarmed by the "lone wolf" terror plot because they allegedly got a pledge of financial and tactical support from Jordanian associates of top terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before he was killed in Iraq, a counterterrorism source told The News.
It's not clear, however, if any cash or assistance was delivered . . . .
FBI and New York City Police Department officials would not comment yesterday about the investigation, which has been kept under wraps for months.
UPDATE: The feds must have one hell of a case:
Anti-Terror Funding Cut In D.C. and New York
Homeland Security Criticized Over Grants
By Dan Eggen and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 1, 2006; Page A01
The Department of Homeland Security yesterday slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York, part of an immediately controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities from Jacksonville to Sacramento.
The announcement that the two cities targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, would suffer 40 percent reductions in urban security funds prompted outrage from lawmakers and local officials in both areas, who questioned the wisdom of cutting funds so deeply for cities widely recognized as prime terrorist targets. The decision came less than five months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff unveiled changes in the grants plan intended to focus funding on areas facing the gravest risk of attack . . . .
New York's grant plummeted from about $207 million to $124 million. A DHS risk scorecard for the city asserted that the home of the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge has "zero" national monuments or icons.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security called the plotters a "terrorist network," and Lebanese officials said the suspect in custody there had confessed, calling himself the mastermind of the plot and pledging allegiance to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
"We believe we have what I'll call eight principal players and that we have them largely identified," Mershon said, adding that the suspects were on three continents. He declined to disclose the nationalities of the suspects.
"We don't have charges pending in the U.S. so there certainly will be no extradition," he said.