U.S. terrorism arrests an ominous sign
Last week, I reported here on the growing threat to the American homeland from al-Qaeda’s new East African affiliate, al-Shabab. Al-Shabab has been recruiting Americans, and one of its top leaders, Omar Hammami, is an American citizen who grew up in Alabama.
Well, the Associated Press just reported on the arrests in Minnesota, California and Alabama of 14 people, most of them U.S. citizens, charged with supporting al-Shabab or traveling to Somalia to join the group. The AP also reports that “In another case unrelated to Thursday's developments, a 26-year-old Chicago man who told an FBI informant that he didn't expect to reach the age of 30 was charged with plotting to go to Somalia to become a suicide bomber for al-Qaeda and al-Shabab.”
These arrests are encouraging news. But the fact that this group seems to be actively seeking out suicide bombers with American passports is an ominous sign of its intentions to strike the American homeland. Which makes President Obama’s decision last September to kill, rather than capture, the leader of al Qaeda in East Africa -- Saleh Ali Nabhan -- all the more troubling. Nabhan could have been an intelligence goldmine, providing unique information about al-Shabab’s efforts to recruit Americans and its plans for new attacks. But now that intelligence has been lost forever.
The question is: Are those just arrested being questioned for intelligence information? Or have they already lawyered up?
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