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Another 9/11 Averted?

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From the Washington Post:

A university student from Egypt was ordered held without bond after prosecutors said they found a pilot’s uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled “How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act” in his apartment.

The FBI is investigating whether Mahmoud Maawad, 29, had any connection to terrorists. He is awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

Maawad, who is in the United States illegally, told the judge during a hearing Thursday that he is studying science and economics at the University of Memphis.

[…]

Maawad had ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, including DVDs titled “Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings,” “Airplane Talk,” “Mental Math for Pilots” and “Mastering GPS Flying,” FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.

The company reported Maawad to authorities when he didn’t pay for $2,500 of merchandise it had delivered, Gulczynski said.

So,. it appears (though, it is not certain) that Muslim Extremists are still trying to use commercial aircraft as weapons of terror against the United States.

And it also appears that the US federal government has done a good job in preventing this threat from becoming fully realized.

But, instead of applauding this story, I expect most Americans will not even become informed of it. And of those who are informed, I suspect many on the Left will not view it as a positive development, but as a “violation of basic civil rights” and all the rest.

I’m sure the ACLU and CAIR will be on the scene to denounce the government at any time…

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About RJ

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    I flew out of Memphis on Monday and will be back there Friday.

    Eek.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Yeah, talk about aiming for the heartland…

    I think the next wave of attacks, if it occurs, will be at “softer” targets than the Pentagon and the WTC.

    Maybe a home football game for OSU?

    Maybe a Las Vegas hotel resort?

    Maybe Graceland?

    The bitch of it is, we have to be right 100% of the time to stop them. They just have to be right once… :-/

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Which is why I’m glad President Bush never stops thinking of ways to harm our country.

    I always wonder if the Midwest is next, but I know we’re safe because they’re checking for shivs under my sandals.

  • steve

    jail the animal for life…thats what I say. make sure his 6×8 cell has an east facing window…at least give him that.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    I wouldn’t go that far. But I would give him Grizzlies season tickets and force him to watch every game.

  • Keith Sikora

    The Indians are .5 games ahead in the Wild Card and 3.5 out of the division lead. As far as I’m concerned, from now until October 2nd, the gov’t can anally probe whoever they want, whenever they want, just as long as they keep them out of Cleveland.

  • fat_sharkie

    I’m saddend by these things I may never understand: The motivation of religious fanatics trying to kill people like me, the motivation of people who say that the inconvenience of having their shoes searched outweighs the threat of mass murder, and the motivation of people who think that concerns about civil liberties are un-American. ~sigh~

  • http://vikibabbles.com Viki

    I have a question. The article says “The company reported Maawad to authorities when he didn’t pay for $2,500 of merchandise it had delivered, Gulczynski said.”

    Does that mean that had this Maawad PAID for his stuff, rather than stiffing the company he bought it from for $2500, they wouldn’t have bothered to report him to authorities?

    How can we say the US is doing a good job of thwarting these events, when it appears, according to the article, that they knew nothing about it until the man was reported. And, did the company report him for theft, or because his purchases were suspect?

  • http://vikibabbles.com Viki

    After reading the WP article (small as it is) a little more closely, it really seems to me that these things were found during a search of the man’s apartment, executed AFTER he was reported to the authorities for not paying for items he ordered.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Why should the government be applauded for doing its job? That’s like thanking a cop
    for giving you a ticket.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Viki: “How can we say the US is doing a good job of thwarting these events …”

    Good point. But I don’t think the nation would take too kindly to racially profiling every tan man who purchases something related to aviation.

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    You don’t think they are already racially profiling anyone arabic?

  • Bill B

    Seems to me the jury is still out on this one. Although we seem to have sufficient candidates for judge, jury and executioner.

    Not paying a $2500 bill is not likely a footprint of an Al Qeada type outfit. It would and did represent a major red flag.

    Viki makes a great point also.

    Raise your hand if you’re a hypocrite who gives no credit to Clinton for the thwarting of the Millenium plot since it simply was due to a heads up border agent, but want to heap praise on Bush when a stiffed aviation materials outfit calls the cops.

    I’ll wait for more facts.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    More good points from Bill. Bush had as much control over this arrest just as much as he did in the weather that ravaged New Orleans.

  • Bill B

    Touche! Matthew. Good one.

  • Rich

    Good that we got him.

    Lets find out why they hate us so much?

    Rather then a label of fanaticism, or the like, will keep us from understanding why they do this.

    I hope nothing like 911 happens again, and I hope a 911 type event is not used again for political gain in a national election.

  • Les Slater

    “Maawad had ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, including DVDs titled “Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings,” “Airplane Talk,” “Mental Math for Pilots” and “Mastering GPS Flying,” FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.”

    Sheesh!

    Earlier this year I ordered a sophisticated GPS worth about $3K. There was a screw up with PayPal. The money was transferred from my checking account through PayPal to the vendor’s account. The vendor shipped the GPS. After the item was shipped PayPal got suspicious and put a hold on the payment in the vendor’s account. PayPal said that I hadn’t spent that much money on one item before and that raised a flag. It couldn’t be rectified because I was away from home and PayPal uses home land-line phone for verification. It took about a week to straighten it out.

    Maybe… ff I had an Arabic surname there might have been a call to the FBI.

    I also possess many aviation-training materials similar to “DVDs titled ‘Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings,’ ‘Airplane Talk,’ ‘Mental Math for Pilots’ and ‘Mastering GPS Flying’”. I also subscribe to Flying magazine, NTBS Reporter and several other such publications.

    I also have detailed maps of every U.S. city and town and have access to coordinates, runway lengths and directions, approach patterns and tower frequencies for all U.S. airports large and small. I have detailed charts of harbor and port entrances including shipping lanes, and surrounding coastal waters. I have a flight simulator with jumbo jet capability.

    So do about a million other people.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Of course he might just be a fantastist and fraudster, a Walter Mitty-type character, in which case you are just spreading alarm over spomething that contains no more danger than the average “we want to transfer $100m” email spam.

  • Demi

    “something that contains no more danger than the average “we want to transfer $100m” email spam”

    Oh crap, those are Spams?

    I wonder how much activity the authorities (worldwide) are thwarting on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?

    I heard it was significant, from sources I have contact with. But to reveal events, breaks up patterns of behavior which terrorist counterintelligence is pretty good at analysing and compensating for. Witness the battlefield and the ever changing technology in something as relatively simple as an IED. We scan for IED’s we jam IED’s and the technique is changed ever so slightly to thwart the E-warfare advantage. We figure it out, change the method again.

    Stuff like that doesn’t get exposed. Becuase exposure invites a change to the pattern. WWII was a perfect example. Read about it. We intercepted and decoded a great deal of information. Some of which we never acted upon, because to do so ment closing that channel of intel gathering.

    Sadly, that’s how the fight is fought.

    Sadly, we’re in another like circumstance.

    Sadly, that’s a fact of life.

    Hard targets, soft targets, late night hot spots, theme parks, pipelines, railway’s… whatever. As RJ said in Number 1…. the terrorist only has to be right once.

    Should we forego due dilligence because it’s too hard? Should be be like sheep to the slaughter? Like zerbra’s to the lion pride? Some of us might be, but there many who would rather not.

    It’s worth the effort to thwart the terrorist.

    Any good emergency/trauma doctor would tell you that.

  • Shark

    RJ: “I suspect many on the Left will not view it as a positive development, but as a “violation of basic civil rights” and all the rest.”

    Brilliant, RJ!

    Yes, your steel-trap mind has figured us out: we applaud any foreign terrorists’ attempts to blow up American cities.

    Way ta go, Einstein!

    You’ve elevated the political insult to the level of a severly retarded person. I have high hopes that you’ll eventually evolve a few notches up to “neener-neener!”

  • Demi

    Slander and profanity is the product of an unsophisticated mind. Your very good at shark.

  • http://vikibabbles.com Viki

    Balancing our right to privacy (to buy whatever we want or check out whatever library books we want, for example) with our need as a country to protect ourselves from terrorists is probably one of the most difficult tasks facing our “Homeland Security” people. The citizens (at least most, I hope!) of this country value our privacy as an inalienable right.

    But how do we steer away from violating this right AND away from racial profiling, and still manage to thwart terrorism?

  • MCH

    I can assure you that racial profiling is at the bottom of the list of Bobby (RJ) Elliott’s concerns.

  • http://www.www.com rj

    For once, MCH, you’re right…

  • http://swingbatterbatter.blogspot.com Greg Smyth

    “So,. it appears (though, it is not certain) that Muslim Extremists are still trying to use commercial aircraft as weapons of terror against the United States.”

    That’s a sizeable leap of logic from the actual quoted newspiece RJ. Absolutely none of the actual facts in that story mean this guy was/is a terrorist operative. Maybe he just really wanted to be a pilot.

    And anyway, what use is being able to look and act like a pilot when you can just hijack a plane midflight or blow it up?

    You really think they’re going to try and fake their way (past all the security clearance and background checks an airline pilot is bound to need these days, especially an Egyptian!) into the cockpit?!

  • Devils Advocate

    Yeah RJ… maybe he just had a Leonardo DeCaprio fetish!!! Huh!!! did you ever take pause to think about that.

  • dead calla

    It is the comments of Keith Sikora and those like him that frighten me the most. We are in a mortal battle for the rights and endowments set forth by the founders of this nation, and Keith wants Bush to call off the jackboot thugs and brown shirts from the Cleveland area, so the Indians can play baseball. Why do so many Americans settle for being flaccid, uneducated, fat, and selfish? Wake up Keith. Read something other than the sports page. You will be the first to cry and wonder what happened when the Reich comes to your city and claims it for their own.

  • Tony Mahon

    hardly any chance he just wanted to learn to be an airline pilot.

    i suppose that would be a bit too hard to fathom considerin he has dark skin

  • http://fedorachronicles.com Ren Fisk

    When people hear me say that “Sept. 11th” will happen again, and they’ll use Air planes… people think I’m crazy.

    That article confirmed what I already knew and susspected.