Left: Mugshot of Mohammad Zaki Amawi, courtesy of FOX News
(Toledo, OH) News of the indictment of three Toledo area men on terrorism charges spread quickly through this Midwestern community. The indictment alleges that one man, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, twice threatened to kill or inflict bodily harm against President Bush while speaking with others in a plot that began in November 2004, while the three also conspired to attack US troops abroad.
Amawi is a citizen of Jordan and the United States. The other men indicted in the plot are Marwan Othman El-Hindi, a US citizen born in Jordan; and Wassim I. Mazloum, who came to the US from Lebanon in 2000.
One wonders, though, just how dangerous these men were if indeed they are guilty of the crimes for which they have been charged.
I do not mean to say that men training with weapons, or studying bomb-making, are not dangerous. Rather, the plot comes across in the indictments as the work of amateurs.
According to the indictment documents, the men visited a local indoor shooting range, used the Internet to download bomb-making instructions, communicated via email with alleged terrorists in the Middle East, and actually traveled to Jordan to deliver five laptop computers to their "brothers" waging jihad.
Now, I am not a counter-terrorism expert, nor do I purport to be. That being said, it seems like these men - if guilty as charged - left electronic and paper trails that would be easy to follow, and which likely raised all sorts of red flags.
We may have been lucky that the indicted men were not seasoned veterans of terror circles; we may not be so fortunate in the future.