View Full Version : Ex-CIA Analyst Larry Johnson Explains Why Skepticism Needed For Miami "Al-Qaeda" Cell

06-23-2006, 10:01 AM
Miami's Al Qaeda Cell?


by Larry C Johnson

Before you join the media horde trumpeting the arrests of alleged members of a fledgling Al Qaeda cell in Miami, a couple of notes of caution. Initial reports are usually wrong and hyped. Remember the arrest of the Army muslim chaplain (http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/09/20/chaplain.arrest/):

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Muslim chaplain in the U.S. Army has been arrested and is being investigated on suspicion of espionage and possibly treason, officials familiar with the case told CNN. Army Capt. James Yee was taken into custody by U.S. military authorities September 10 at the naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida, while in possession of classified documents "that a chaplain shouldn't have," an official told CNN, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Turns out Yee was innocent.

Remember the false arrest (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,119243,00.html) of an Oregon lawyer, a muslim and former Army officer:

ALOHA, Ore. — A lawyer and former Army officer who converted to Islam was arrested as a material witness in the deadly train bombings in Spain, federal authorities said. Brandon Mayfield was taken into custody Thursday by FBI agents, who also searched his home in the Portland suburb of Aloha.

It was the first known arrest in the United States with connections to the March 11 terrorist attacks in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others.

Remember Richard Jewell, falsely accused for the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing?

Caution is the watch word. The good news is that law enforcement had penetrated this group. This calls into question the Administration's insistence that you can't fight terrorism as a law enforcement matter. Really? If that's true then why was this handled as a "law enforcement" matter? This should be a reminder that law enforcement, particularly with the help of local law enforcement, is our first and best defense against domestic terrorism.

Some things to keep in mind. First, no weapons or explosives were recovered at the site of the raid. Second, the claim that one suspect "pledged bayat" (swore an oath) to Bin Laden should be treated as questionable. Bin Laden has been on the run since he escaped Tora Bora in December 2001. I don't think he is receiving too many visitors since then.

When this shakes out I suspect we will find a disaffected group of youths who had fantastical dreams of destruction but no real capability to carry out their evil fantasies. Given the Bush Administration's proclivity to play the fear card and use the threat of terrorism to scare the hell out of the public, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.