Seven men have been charged with a plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, according to a frontpage NYTimes article.
What interests me is this, a quote from Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales:
“Today, terrorist threats may come from smaller, more loosely defined cells who are not affiliated with Al Qaeda, but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message, and left unchecked, these homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous as groups like Al Qaeda.”
Smells awfully familiar of the Taheri-azar “incident.” These non-Al Qaeda terrorists are arguably more stupid and less purposeful than “real” Al Qaeda terrorists. Taheri did a bang-up job if his intent was actually to kill students, failing to even send anyone to the hospital overnight; and these Sears Tower terrorists didn’t even get past the “let’s pledge an allegiance to Al Qaeda for the FBI informer” stage.
I think this underscores the fact that there ought to be a distinction between institutional terrorism, and these rogue renegade types. Both are terrorism, mind you, and both are ideologically motivated. But one clearly poses a bigger “threat” than the other, and I think it serves a purpose to distinguish between the two.
I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. The talking heads on CNN think the indictment is “thin,” especially for a conspiracy case. It’s uncertain if the FBI informer didn’t bait some of these suspects into the things they’re being charged with, which would be entrapment, which would mean they go home scott-free.