Posted by lex, on April 30, 2008
Not such a bad guy, he says. As for administration strategy in the GWOT, Feith counters the popular perception that there wasn’t one with the argument that there so was:
· The development of the strategy for the war on terrorism in the hours and days after 9/11 – a strategy that broke with US counter-terrorism policies of the previous decades – a strategy that aimed not simply to punish the perpetrators of 9/11, but (much more ambitiously) to prevent follow-on 9/11-scale attacks.
· For all the errors the administration has made and the terrible problems we have encountered in recent years, especially in Iraq, it is a notable achievement that we are six and half years past 9/11 and the United States has not been hit again as we were hit then. This owes something, I believe, to our strategy.
Farewell, to all that, prolly. The national mood seems to swing largely back towards dealing with the terrorist threat using Radio America broadcasts backed up with the tools of law enforcement.
Which, here’s an update on that:
A judge has scheduled a hearing Thursday to decide whether to punish prosecutors for violating a court order in the case of two former University of South Florida students charged with illegally transporting explosives.
Attorneys for Youssef Megahed filed a motion Monday asking for sanctions based on what they said were the government’s violation of a court order detailing when the prosecution was to provide the defense with evidence it plans to use at trial.
U.S. District Judge Steven D.Merryday issued an order this afternoon scheduling a hearing 11 a.m. Thursday where prosecutors must show why they should not be sanctioned. In legal parlance, Merryday issued an order to show cause.
The Megaheds represent not merely a squandered opportunity to name a cool rock band, but as you will recall, were IRL University of South Florida students hailing from Kuwait and Egypt. Last August they were arrested after a traffic stop while wandering far from home on back roads to nowhere in particular carrying what turned out to be either fireworks (Megahed lawyers) or pipe bombs (the sheriff’s deputies who stopped them). Unable to immediately explain where they were going or what they’d planned to do with the incendiary devices, the deputies found their presence in the vicinity of a US naval base that had held GWOT detainees suspicious. Eventually the state dropped charges in favor of a federal prosecution.
The brothers declined to let the FBI search their residence, but mom and dad said OK for a time, the warrant being limited to a search for explosive materials. The G-Men executing the warrant apparently exceeded their brief by riffling through computer hard drives, finding evidence of jihadi literature and explosive making instructions along the way:
Among that evidence is information showing the home computers had a “large amount of research into weapons, ammunition and armed combat. One of the Megahed residence computers also contained numerous video clips depicting the manufacture and use of improvised explosive devices and a video recording showing the explosion of a bridge by means of such a destructive device.”
“Those video recordings all appear to depict the uses of such weapons in the armed struggle in the Middle East against the United States and other forces.”
Although the judge’s “show cause” mandate appears to be a discovery-related issue, the fact that the prosecution must defend itself from charges that it acted inappropriately in the matter leads this non-lawyer to believe that the computer evidence will be quashed, and with it the government’s expanded terrorism case. Which means we’re back to making a federal case out of the transportation of fireworks across state lines. Justice is served.
Which, who knows? Maybe that’s the right thing. Probably it is. Almost certainly. Maybe the young men were in fact innocently swept up “driving while Muslim” 460 miles from home. And maybe they just had a typically juvenile fascination with Arabic language texts on the creation of explosive devices and the destruction of bridges.
You know: Like kids do.
We’ll probably never know, conspiracies being notoriously hard to prove and the enforcement of anti-terror laws being much more about sweeping through the wreckage of something that used to be wonderful searching for forensic evidence than it is about the prevention of terrorist acts.