Fort Dix: Islamic terrorists were immigrants from Albania, Jordan and Turkey
It was a terror plot that hinged, in no small part, upon a map snatched from a New Jersey pizzeria. The plotters honed their shooting skills on semiautomatics at the firing range, though they also spent time conducting what the authorities called “tactical training” by playing paintball in the woods.
They seemed to be prepared: with terror training tapes, with computerized ballistic simulations, even with what appeared to be a template of the last will and testament drawn up by two of the hijackers from Sept. 11. At the same time, one of the men worried aloud to a government informer: “I just want to be safe, brother. I got five kids, so I don’t want to go down.”
The narrative of a foiled terror plot spelled out in the federal complaint issued yesterday by officials in New Jersey is full of tiny moments that are clearly chilling yet undeniably strange. Certainly, the 27-page document describing a plot to kill soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey stands out as one of the more detailed descriptions to emerge so early in a terrorism case during the last few years.
While the document paints a picture of a bloody-minded, though occasionally unsophisticated, plot, it is worth recalling that acts of terror — even deadly ones — have often included glaring strategic flaws in the past. One of the terrorists in the 1993 scheme to destroy the World Trade Center, in fact, returned to a rental office to claim his deposit for the truck that carried explosives into the complex’s garage.
The current case came to light in early 2006 when the suspects — four ethnic Albanians, three of them brothers; a Jordanian; and a Turk — asked their local video store to transfer their own improvised jihadist videotape to DVD and a representative of the store called the authorities. Within weeks, federal agents managed to infiltrate the group with an informer who recorded them with apparent ease — at home, in their cars and on the phone for more than a year.
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