The Jaywalker Had Unmutual Thoughts


Tragicomic newspaper-bungle story over at Romenesko:

A July story in Gannett's Fond du Lac (Wis.) Reporter said a local gas station owner may have been a 9/11 "plotter." Actually, a federal official said the man was only an "applauder." A photo of the station—with its address—accompanied the story.

Lawsuits ensue. This is being played up, understandably so, as the Mother of All Newspaper Errors, but my lonely thoughts turn to the misquoted Department of Homeland Security official. The station owner, a Pakistani national named Faryad Hussain, was busted for a marriage scam, and deported. Yet DHS official Jeff Stillings clucked:

"Our investigation has shown that Faryad has strong anti-American sentiments," Stillings said. "He was a strong applauder of the 9-11 attacks. He was a applauder of Osama bin Laden, and he did not have our best interests (at heart)."

I suppose this should make me feel safer, but it doesn't. If the feds are going around looking for non-terrorism technicalities to bust people judged to "not have our best interests at heart," then it speaks poorly for their anti-terrorism investigations in the first place. And call me a literalist, but I'd rather people be arrested for what they do, as opposed to what they're perceived to believe.