Triple Terror Plots Raise Alarm

Arrests in Colorado, Texas and Illinois spark debate over legal powers and the implications for U.S. military efforts abroad

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Three terror cases, one said to be the most well-developed plot uncovered since 9/11, have thrust concerns about terrorism back to the fore. Though several recent terror arrests fell apart due to a lack of hard evidence, Najibullah Zazi's hand-written bomb diagrams and purchases of volatile chemicals have captured national attention. This has prompted a deeper appreciation of law-enforcement vigilance, debate over the legal powers to make preventive arrests, and concerns about how domestic terror plots will bear on U.S. efforts overseas.

  • Zazi Plot Means We Need to Keep Up Fight in Afghanistan, argues the Wall Street Journal editorial board. "The arrest of Najibullah Zazi... does, however, argue for recognizing that Pakistan and Afghanistan persist as centers for sending forth violent plots against America. Zazi traveled to Pakistan for training at an al Qaeda camp."
  • Preventive Arrests and Fair Trials Crucial for Safety, writes the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune. "It's reasonable to arrest terror suspects the moment they allegedly break any of our laws -- lying to investigators included. Charges such as those against the current suspects don't deprive them of chances to prove themselves fully innocent in court. Those charges do, though, conceivably hold the power to intercept plots before they take large numbers of lives. And that protection has to be our most urgent priority."
  • Praise the Police for Staying Calm, says John Cole at Balloon Juice. "These seem to me to be success stories, and real threats (unlike that one group of clowns in Queens a couple months ago). I also like how they are sort of taking it in stride and not having big, showy press conferences with Eric Holder trying to scare the shit out of us."
  • No Extraordinary Legal Powers Needed, applauds Dave Anderson at Newshoggers. "It is almost like the legal/criminal justice system is fairly robust in providing security against both lone wolf and home grown conspiracies. Who would have thunk that..."
  • International Implications, says Juan Zarate at CBS News. "What you have here that makes it so dangerous is the fact that Zazi appears to have been trained by al Qaeda in Pakistan. Appears to not only have contacts with al Qaeda but seemed to have been deployed here at the direction of al Qaeda senior leadership"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.