How serious was the threat?


Over at TalkingPointsMemo Zachary Roth questions how serious the Bronx synagogue bombing plot was:

There’s no doubt the men expressed violent sentiments towards Jews and others, and a desire to commit large-scale terror acts. According to the complaint, at one point during the planning, Cromitie said: "I hate those motherfuckers, those fucking Jewish bastards … I would like to get [destroy] a synagogue." In that same conversation, he also said, referring to the Twin Towers: "The best target was hit already."

Indeed, the complaint paints a picture of a plot in which the FBI informant played a central role from the start. The informant met Cromitie, the apparent ringleader of the plot, last June at a Newburgh mosque. Cromitie told the informant that his parents had lived in Afghanistan, that he was upset about the US killing Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that he would like to do "something to America." Soon after, the informant falsely told Cromitie that he (the informant) was a member of the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Cromitie said he too would like to join, in order to "do Jihad."

From there, the plot began to slowly take shape, with the informant playing a central role throughout. The informant helped to procure fake homemade bombs, and accompanied the men in obtaining a surface-to-air guided missile system and three IEDs. The informant also accompanied the men in buying handguns for use in the plot.

So based on what we know, it looks like the suspects had definite intentions to follow through on their ambitions to commit violence — but whether they had the wherewithal and resources to have done so without the help of the informant is less clear.

It’s fair to say that without the help/prodding of the FBI informant these guys probably would have never have pulled off a major strike — on their own, they were not going to pull off the next 9/11. Or even blown up a synagogue. But, as this list indicates, it doesn’t take much brainpower, skill or access to sophisticated weaponry to produce a tragedy.

So if you’re job is to worry about security at Jewish institutions, this is a textbook example of what you — and your local police force — need to be thinking about. 

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