More on the Killer Clowns of Al Qaeda


Gene Healy with some details from the trial regarding the 2007 plot to blow up JFK Airport:

Last week, federal jurors in Brooklyn heard tapes from an undercover informant in what one prosecutor called one of "the most chilling plots imaginable," a 2007 Islamist plan to detonate underground fuel tanks at JFK International Airport.

On the tapes, defendant Russell Defreitas promised "high-tech," "ninja-style" tactics that included releasing rats in the main terminal to distract security. "We got to come up with supernatural things," he told the informant.

Despite his bluster, Defreitas seemed unaware of the technical difficulties involved in igniting hardened underground pipelines, and he never secured explosives.

The JFK plotters' trial follows May's attempted Times Square bombing, in which Faisal Shahzad—trained in explosives at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan—failed to set off a bomb made of gas cans, propane tanks, fireworks and nonflammable fertilizer.

You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren't the sharpest scimitars in the shed?

One imagines Count Floyd intoning about "the most chilling plots imaginable." Healy is following up on observations from Daniel Byman and Christine Fair in The Atlantic, which Jesse Walker blogged about last month.

NEXT: Leaks Show JournoList Members Plotting to Push Back Against Rev. Wright Stories, Accuse Random Republicans of Being Racist

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  1. I get the sense that these guys have watched too many Hollywood movies, in which Bruce Willis or Rutger Hauer uses a Zippo lighter to trigger a massive fireball from some storage tanks.

    What they fail to realize (aside from the differences between Hollywood movies and reality, which are legion) is that these storage tanks are heavily regulated and subject to all kinds of technical and engineering standards, specifically to make it very difficult and unlikely that they will explode.

    Just like the idiot Times Square “bomber” found, it takes more than duct taping a firecracker to a gas can to cause a big explosion.

    1. It’s a lot harder to blow something up than most people think. I remember that Mythbusters episode where they lit up a whole pack of cigarettes, one at a time, and threw them into a pie plate filled with gasoline. None of the cigarettes ignited the gas. That info proved helpful some time later when I represented someone who was accused of setting someone else on fire.

      1. Lionel Hutz is that you?

      2. Thank God Mythbusters hasn’t been translated into Arabic yet.

        I had a really cool translation of “BUSTED!” into Arabic, but Reason’s xenophobic filter won’t let me post it.

        1. S?. Raz?n bloques hebreo tambi?n. Son tan racistas. 😉

    2. So, Hollywood is actually a government program to disseminate misinformation in order to thwart terrorism?

      That would explain why we can’t trade movie futures — national security.

  2. Stop making jokes! We need every cent of our $800 billion defense budget to keep us safe! In fact, it should be higher! Much higher! Invade Iran now! I guess there are some people who don’t enjoy having beer and bacon for breakfast, but I do.

    1. We don’t want to invade Iran, we only want to repurpose it.

    2. Shouldn’t you be at home working on your next Francis the Talking Mule book?

  3. 3-D House of Pancakes.
    Excellent link.

  4. Killer Clowns

    I almost inflicted an ICP video on you people, but I couldn’t do it. Stupid conscience.

    1. Someone already did in the Morning Links. Well, a Jugalo vid at least.

  5. Excellentlly played Mr. Doherty! Deflecting the wrath of the JournoList members away from you and onto the unsuspecting Mr. Healy.

  6. Here’s Tailban Jihad monkeys courtesy of the Chicoms.


    “Taliban Jihad Monkeys
    Communist party-run propaganda outlet People’s Daily finally has an ally to support its thoroughly debunked claim that the Taliban is training monkeys for war against the U.S. and NATO. The newspaper last week “reported” that the Taliban had taught monkeys to use AK-47s against American troops, which the story claimed would also “arouse Western animal protectionists to pressure their governments to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.”

    1. I am previously on record as being against arming and training thumbed animals. People are bad enough, but monkeys? At least the Taliban don’t fling poo accurately once they’ve emptied their AK-47s to little effect.

  7. what one prosecutor called one of “the most chilling plots imaginable,”

    They successfully terrorized the prosecutor.

    1. “one prosecutor called one of the most chilling plots imaginable”
      Blowing up gas tanks, albeit big gas tanks, is the one of the MOST chilling things imaginalbe???
      Man, we have a real failure of imagination in the Federal
      gubermint. What about an attack by water balloons filled with storm squirters II…fluids?
      Or nuclear bombs?

      1. The most “chilling” plot I’ve heard of:

        The only thing you need to do, is disrupting the North Atlantic Current. This ocean current brings warmth from the tropics to Europe and the US. Without it, temperatures would be up to 10 degrees lower, disrupting agriculture and wreaking havoc with the economy of the civilized world. They would hate your guts for it, those westerners.

        Already, the North Atlantic Current is weakening. And the best part is: some scientists believe that the current could break down relatively easy. Perhaps you may be able to kill the current yourself!

        So, warm up the sea water near Greenland with atomic bombs. Load some ships with salt and sink them in the Atlantic. This should make the sea water locally denser and heavier, putting a ‘plug’ on the current. Blowing up some well-chosen glaciers on or near the South Pole might do the trick, too.

      2. …or dogs? Or bees? Or, dogs that have bees in their mouth, so that when they bark they shoot bees at you?

      3. This is a frequent topic of discussion among my crowd. Our conclusion is that they really are not that motivated to create terror or kill people. If they were, there are many, many more disruptive and deadly ways to attack the US – most of which do not involve suicide. Heck, most even have a very low probability of getting caught. Either that or they are seriously lacking in imagination.

  8. Another harvest of low-hanging fruit in the name of another War on __________. God bless America.

  9. Taliban Jihad Monkeys

    Now that there is some serious raaaaaaaaaaacism.

    1. Sounds like lyrics from Come Together:

      He bag production he got…walrus gumboot
      He got…ono sideboard
      Taliban…Jihad monkeys

  10. I love how we keep hearing on the news about how the Times Square guy got “explosives training” in Yemen. They must not know much about explosives in Yemen, or he is a very slow learner.

  11. I agree that a lot of guys are total idiots, but some of them did fly a few planes into our buildings…

    Just sayin’

    1. You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren’t the sharpest scimitars in the shed?

      Just part of the Grand Strategy to make the Great Satan complacent.

      1. Actually a lot of the suicide bombers are recruited from the mentally disabled population. Its easier to convince them to do something like that, as opposed to a person of average intelligence who might ask “Why the fuck don’t you do it if it’s so important?”

    2. Thats a fair point.
      However, how many people, money, and resources did we have prior to 9/11 – devoted ostensibly to “intelligence?” I worked in intelligence, and I can’t think of a better example of an oxymoron.
      Honestly, with decades of airline hijackings, it never occurred to anyone in the gubermint that maybe it would be good if the hijackers couldn’t reach the pilots?
      My view is that now that passingers know not to go along with hijackings, we are better off.
      Right now, all I am convinced of is that the gubermint can find idiots who try to car bomb with a car that has their license plate on it.

    3. They had pretty much every break go their way during that attack. And guess what? The damage they did directly was relatively minimal. 0.001% of the US population was killed and about damage totalling 0.1% of our GDP was done. If that’s the best case scenario for those wackos, they’re not a real threat.

      The real destruction in both lives lost and dollars wasted was done by the ridiculous overreaction of the idiots in power at the time.

      1. If that’s the best case scenario for those wackos, they’re not a real threat.

        The rather obvious logical fallacy here is the assumption that their most successful attack represents their “best case scenario”.

        By this logic, prior to 9/11 their best case scenario was merely blowing up an airplane with a couple of hundred passengers on it.

        1. Nothing illogical about an “if” statement.

          1. There is, if there is no possible way to ever know the answer to the question with certainty.

            Even if it is the case that they don’t have the capability of mounting a larger-scale attack now, there is absolutely no way we can possibly know that this will the case in five, ten, or twenty years from now. The question simply isn’t answerable.

            1. You must lead a damned fearful life, Mike.

              1. Oh, stop already. There is nothing “fearful” about the stating the obvious truism that we can’t know with certainty what the future will bring.

        2. Given that Al-Qaeda has been attempting to attack America pretty much nonstop during the time since 9/11, and have been unable to do anything close to that, it’s reasonable to think that’s the best they’ve got.

          Just like, since I’ve cut myself shaving hundreds of times in my life, but never managed to rip open an artery, leads me to believe I’m not going to bleed to death by shaving.

  12. “You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren’t the sharpest scimitars in the shed?”

    The World Trade center (twice), the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania the two African Embassies, the dico in Bali, the Tube in London, the Khobar Towers, the Ft. Hood massacre, the USS Cole bombing…

  13. “”You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren’t the sharpest scimitars in the shed?””

    Yet we created the Department of Homeland Security and passed the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act to defend.

    1. Ever get the feeling that some of our guy’s aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer?

  14. If these guys thinks that rats running across the floor will distract New Yorkers, they have horrible intel. After a few rides on the subway, we stop noticing the rats.

    1. They were going to wait until Bryant park played a double feature of “Ben” and “Willard”.

    2. If I saw rats in JFK, I’d think they were part of some ironic guerilla advertising program. Or that the cleaning union was on strike. Or I was in NY.

    3. Actually, if there aren’t any rats in the airport, you have to wonder if they left because they know something you don’t.

    4. If I was at Washington National and didn’t see any rats, I would have to conclude that Congress was on recess.

  15. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT—-Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows TO Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.REPOST THIS

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