Too often in this age of political correctness, many of the counter-terrorism tactics used by law enforcement are called into question by critics who claim that the strategies amount to an advanced level of racial profiling.
But here in Queens, with the recent bust of three Flushing buddies who apparently concocted terror plots in their spare time, we have learned a lesson on how valuable and effective the city’s counter-terrorism strategies can be.
The trio consisted of Adis Medunjanin, 28, a U.S. citizen born in Bosnia; Najibullah Zazi, 27, a permanent U.S. resident from Afghanistan and Zarein Ahmedzay, 27, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan.
Medunjanin went on trial in Brooklyn federal court on Monday, Apr. 16. His two cohorts have already pleaded guilty and will testify against their comrade-in-arms who claims he never intended to go along with the planned suicide bombings inside the New York City subways.
Their murderous plot was thwarted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department. What those officers of the law uncovered in their course of their investigation was a scheme to carry out the worst terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11.
The unholy trinity reportedly conceived their plot about five years ago with a discussion in the parking lot of a Queens mosque, where Zazi, Medunjanin and Ahmedzay worshipped together. By 2008, they made a trip to Pakistan and met a top al- Qaeda operative and received training to use weapons of war.
The trio returned to New York and posed as typical New Yorkers, striving to live the immigrant dream. Medunjanin was a doorman, Ahmedzay drove a yellow cab, and Zazi was a coffee cart vendor before moving to Colorado where he drove an airport shuttle bus.
Not being able to assemble large bombs, the threesome decided to strap home-made bombs to their bodies and walk into crowded New York subway cars that were filled with innocent people.
Luckily, authorities foiled the deadly plot in September 2009. Agents used physical surveillance of the suspects, an informant known to the NYPD and court-authorized wiretaps to gain adequate information to stop the suspects and bring them to justice before any harm could be done.
Many opponents spend a great deal of time claiming that the investigative work by law enforcement amounts to racial profiling and harrassment of Muslims. Some have even asked for the ouster of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg due to these alleged practices.
But the critics fail to see the difference between racial profiling and the kind of good police work which destroyed this plot— and many others—which would have killed scores of people and brought great pain to a city still reeling from the worst terrorist attack in human history. The FBI, NYPD, Bloomberg and Kelly are owed great thanks for what they do.
“It was precisely our failure to understand the context in 1993 that left us vulnerable in 2001,” Kelly recently said in a speech to a Fordham Law School Alumni group. “We won’t make that mistake again–on Mayor Bloomberg’s watch or mine.”
Well said, sir, and keep up the good work.