Joel Mowbray

In the terrorism case of two young Egyptian nationals and University of South Florida students arrested August 4 in South Carolina, fascinating twists and turns abound.

There’s a secret recording of the defendants discussing strategy shortly after their arrest. There’s a You Tube video in which one of the defendants gave instructions in Arabic on converting a remote-control toy into a bomb detonator, which one defendant allegedly told police was made to help people in Arab countries “defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries,” specifically “against those who fought for the United States.”

That’s not all. The father of one of the defendants, Youssef Megahed, all but pointed the finger at the co-defendant, Ahmed Mohamed, as the sole culprit, thus implying that his son was ignorant or duped.

And for good measure, Mohamed had stayed at a house formerly rented by convicted terrorism supporter and former USF professor Sami al-Arian.

Yet this compelling drama has drawn scant attention from the mainstream media. And while apologists might attempt to write off the paucity of coverage for various reasons, a slew of other terrorism cases since 9/11 have been met with the same media disinterest.

Following the arrests of Mohamed and Megahed on Aug. 4 with explosives in the trunk of their car—just seven miles from a naval weapons base in Goose Creek, SC—the Washington Post and New York Times made fleeting references. Each paper ran a brief overview from the Associated Press, with no independent reporting.

After the federal government indicted the two defendants on explosives charges and Mohamed on terrorism-related charges, the Times published not even 500 words—on page 14, no less. That was actually more aggressive than the Post, which discussed the indictment, but only in the context of the revelation of the You Tube video, which included a discussion on what might happen to the Internet giant.

Neither highly esteemed outlet reported the contents in the trunk of the vehicle the pair was driving: a box of .22-caliber bullets, gun powder, several gallons of gasoline, 20 feet of fuse, PVC piping and a drill.

Neither paper even mentioned perhaps the most amusing part of the case: the conversation between the two defendants in the back of the police car after the arrest. Not knowing an audio recorder was capturing their words, the two had the following exchange:

“Did you tell them there is something in them?” Mohamed asked, presumably referring to the PVC pipes.

“Water,” Megahed said.

“Water! Right? The black water is in the Pepsi.”

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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