Terror suspect Najibullah Zazi has done us all a favor. But is it enough to rouse a nation in permanent snooze-button mode?
The arrest of Zazi, a Colorado-based Afghan airport shuttle driver who counterterrorism officials believe may have been plotting bomb attacks on New York City mass transit trains, raised alerts on rail lines across the country. A joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security assessment issued Monday warned law enforcement agencies about the use of improvised explosive devices against passenger trains overseas. Zazi was allegedly trained in manufacturing liquid explosives with hydrogen peroxide -- the same material used in the London subway attacks in 2005. FBI/DHS analysts have recommended random sweeps and patrols at rail stations and terminals as deterrents.
The bust reminded America that while the annual September 11 memorials are over, the jihadi threat looms. Yet, homeland security remains crippled by a 9/10 mentality.
Remember: The New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the New York Police Department a few years ago to try to stop random bag searches. The civil liberties absolutists are against random searches because they constitute "unreasonable" invasions of privacy. They're against targeted searches because they amount to racial, religious or ethnic "profiling." And they're against across-the-board searches because they lack "individualized suspicion."
The ACLU homeland security strategy: Do nothing.
The suit against NYPD's random bag search policy ultimately failed, but litigation both real and threatened continues to tie the hands of homeland security and law enforcement officials. This summer, a judge cleared the way for a lawsuit against federal and Minneapolis airport officers by the infamous "flying imams." They are the six Muslim clerics whose suspicious behavior -- fanning out in the cabin before take-off, refusing to sit in their assigned seats, requesting seat-belt extenders, which they placed on the floor -- led to their removal by a U.S. Airways crew in 2006.
The feds rejected the imams' attempt to shake down the airline with a discrimination lawsuit. But three years later, law enforcement officers are still battling the flying extortionists. Political correctness remains the handmaiden of terrorism.
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