When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as "one of the most chilling plots imaginable," which might have caused "unthinkable" devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.
The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.
nd now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf's initial characterizations seem more questionable -- some go so far as to say hyped.
"I think her comments were over the top," said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland. "It was a totally overstated characterization that doesn't comport with the facts."
Greenberger said he has no argument with police pursuing and stopping the alleged plotters.
"I think they were correct to take this seriously," he said. "... But there's a pattern here of Justice Department attorneys overstating what they have. I think they feel under tremendous pressure to vindicate the elaborate counterterrorism structure they've created since 9/11, including the Patriot Act."
Sad, isn't it? They feel the need to overstate the facts (and in the process, scare the crap out of Americans) in order to try vindicating Bush's failure.