Deep within an article about the “high bar for when a person becomes a terror threat,” the Boston Globe reveals that the feds got lucky and tripped over a few of those threats.
The examples provided are Rezwan Ferdanus, Alexander Ciccolo, David Wright, and Nicholas Rovinski:
In the case of Ferdaus, the Ashland man had devised a plan to send explosive-laden remote-control airplanes into the Pentagon, and to shoot everyone who tried to flee the building. Ferdaus was sentenced in 2012 to 17 years in prison.
Ciccolo allegedly planned to shoot people at an unnamed local university and discussed the plan with an informant, who provided the weapons. He is awaiting trial.
Rovinski and Wright were under investigation for months on suspicion they were plotting to kill anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller. They were arrested, however, only after Usaamah Abdullah Rahim — Wright’s uncle — was shot by police officers last June when he allegedly attacked one of them with a knife. Rovinski and Wright were later indicted and are awaiting trial on charges that they tried to establish a local terror cell.
Rahim, Rovinsky, and Wright were not plotting to kill Geller because she is an “anti-Islam activist.” They were planning to kill her specifically because she violated sharia law. And they were not working in a vacuum of lone-wolf self-radicalization; they were in active contact with Islamic State operatives overseas. Wright was trying to organize what he called a “Martyrdom Operations Cell.”
Wright, by the way, also goes by the name “Dawud Sharif Abdul-Khaliq,” but the media doesn’t like using that name for some reason.
Last June, Rovinsky told CNN about his email exchanges with an “alleged ISIS fighter who urged him to come to Iraq and Syria and join the terrorist group,” and he had some Twitter message traffic with a known member of the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia. Rovinsky was a convert to fundamentalist Islam whose tweets included the question, “Who wishes to see the flag of tawheed upon the White House?” Tawheed is the declaration that Allah is the only true God, a slogan often found on jihadi flags.
The Boston Globe is telling us Rovinsky and Wright were taken down only because Rahim flipped out and attacked law enforcement officials in a parking lot. They confronted him because they received a phone tip that Rahim was about to act on a plan to murder police officers.
Pamela Geller noticed the Boston Globe article and was not reassured that her life may have been saved by a stroke of luck.
“So unless a jihadi attempts to kill police officers on their way to behead an author and activist who works in defense of freedom, or shoots up a gay nightclub in Orlando or a Christmas party in San Bernardino, then we are all on our own, no matter how many red flags were raised — as evidenced in Orlando, San Bernardino and Chattanooga,” she wrote.
Last year, NBC News quoted a law enforcement source who said the plan by Rahim and his friends to behead Geller was a “fantasy” because “we don’t know whether they even knew where to find her.” Given that she has a constant schedule of public appearances, she is not really that hard to find. She doesn’t want to erase her identity and spend the rest of her life in hiding, as so many targets of Islamic terrorism have done. Her life depends on the ability of counterterrorism analysts to determine which death threats are “fantasies” and which have a real chance of becoming reality.
It’s all the “we don’t knows” that make these times alarming — all the casual assumptions made without firm knowledge, all the guesswork necessary because the terrorism threat is too big for the FBI to handle. With political correctness and President Obama’s political agenda in the mix, there are too many people alive today because law enforcement got lucky, and there are far too many dead because it didn’t.