Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank God For The NYPD, Shame On The FBI

NYPD anti-terror training, late 2010 - ABC.com
November 21, 2011 - A little over ten years ago, the FBI let the 9/11 terrorists slip through their fingers.  

The FBI dropped the ball again in the new case of Jose Pimentel, the man arrested by New York City police yesterday on suspicious of plotting bomb attacks. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the Justice Department was aware of the investigation.

"But," reports Joe Coscarelli at NYMag.com, the FBI "was not involved in the arrest because of its rushed nature." Coscarelli quoted Kelly as also saying, "We had to act quickly yesterday because he was in fact putting this bomb together, drilling a hole, and it would have been not appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with the bomb."

An Associated Press report today says that the FBI chose to ignore Jose Pimentel.  "Federal authorities declined to pursue a case against an "al-Qaida sympathizer" accused of wanting to bomb police stations and post offices in New York City because they believed he was mentally unstable and incapable of pulling off the alleged plot, two law enforcement officials said Monday."  

The Wall Street Journal notes the strangeness of the absence of Federal authorities in this investigation and arrest. "Several people familiar with the case said federal agents and prosecutors reviewed the evidence," reports Sophia Hollander at WSJ, "but decided against trying to build federal terrorism charges against Mr. Pimentel—the second time this year federal authorities declined to take part in a terror probe handled principally by the NYPD. In both instances, the Manhattan district attorney took the case instead—rare instances of a local prosecutor tackling terrorism cases."

It's not the first time that the FBI has deliberately ignored a developing terror threat. In the weeks and days leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., the FBI "failed at least five times to detain two of the September 11 hijackers who took part in the attacks," according to a declassified Justice Department report. According to the report, said the Independent Online (IOL), "US authorities could have arrested al-Qaeda members Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar - who were on the plane that smashed into the defence department headquarters near Washington - just before September 11, 2001."

The New York Police Department, thank God, did not sit around waiting for the FBI to do something about Jose Pimentel. AP reports today that "Federal authorities declined to pursue a case against an 'al-Qaida sympathizer' accused of wanting to bomb police stations and post offices in New York City because they believed he was mentally unstable and incapable of pulling off the alleged plot, two law enforcement officials said Monday."

Is it now the FBI's policy that they simply dismiss a potential terrorist because, to paraphrase, they think he's nuts? If so, that would require them to ignore an awful lot of crazy lunatics out there. As for being "incapable of pulling off" a bomb plot, let's get serious: You don't have to be a genius to put together a very simple pipe bomb.

Such inaction and willingness by the FBI to ignore a character like Jose Pimentel is very disturbing. Republican Congressman Peter King said there seems to be a "growing difference in philosophy" between the FBI and the New York Police Department, adding that it's "not a good sign the FBI wasn't there" at Mayor Bloomberg's press conference about the arrest of Pimentel.

It's fortunate that Jose Pimentel did not have an airplane at his disposal.

RELATED:
City Hall touts the arrest of Jose Pimentel, but the F.B.I. isn't with them - CapitalNewYork.com
Feds Passed On NYC ‘Lone-Wolf’ Terror Case - Talking Points Memo

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