Are Americans Arrested in Pakistan Evidence of U.S. Terrorism?

Five D.C.-area Americans were arrested at the Pakistan home of a man tied to terrorism

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Five young men from the Washington, D.C., area who disappeared last week have been arrested in Pakistan. They were found at the home of a man with ties to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group thought to be responsible for the 2002 abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. One of the Americans left a videotaped statement that "quoted Koranic verses" and included footage of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After seeing the video, the man's parents contacted the FBI. How worried should we be about these five young men of Pakistani, Egyptian and Yemeni descent, whose arrest come just days after a Chicago man was charged with aiding the terrorist attacks in Mumbai?

  • Trend of American Terrorists? Maybe Not Talking Points Memo's Justin Elliot points out that details remain inconclusive. "[T]he case is already being cited as the latest example in an emerging trend of radicalization of American Muslims who travel overseas and link up with foreign terrorist groups," he writes. "[B]ut they have not been charged with a crime and details of what they were doing are still hard to come by."
  • Shows Loyalty of U.S. Muslims Spencer Ackeman insists the arrests "show signs of the durability of American Muslim resistance to radicalization. The arrests wouldn't have happened, for instance, if a much-maligned American Muslim organization [Council on American-Islamic Relations] hadn't put the accused's worried families in touch with the government." He writes, "[A] leading American Muslim organization, faced with credible fears of U.S. involvement in terrorism, promptly contacted law enforcement."
  • U.S. Radicals and Afghan War The New Republic's Michael Crowley calls this "The latest installment in a disturbing trend of U.S. citizens found to have connections to radicals in the tribal areas of Pakistan." He adds, "I'm convinced that this kind of thing--especially the Zazi case--weighed heavily on Barack Obama's mind when he decided to recommit the U.S. to Afghanistan."
  • American Terrorism Abroad? Glenn Reynolds asks, "Is the U.S. now exporting terror?" Dan Riehl shakes his head, "Great. They're young, all from the DC area and one left a video behind claiming Muslims needed to be defended. One was a dental student at Howard University."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.