One ponders disasters that didn’t happen.
In 2000, the “Millennium bomber” was crossing the border from Canada, intent on bombing LAX on New Year’s day. He was caught by an alert border agent who sensed something was wrong. We escaped that time.
The 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers killed people but failed to bring down the building. It also failed to get the attention of President Bill Clinton who seemed to ignore the looming threat of Al Qaeda.
One wonders what secrets Sandy Berger, Clinton’s former NSA Adviser, stole and destroyed from the National Archives during the 9/11 Commission.
Every year since 9/11 2001, there’s tightened security, much of it we don’t know about and should not know about. Plots are discovered and foiled. We move on.
But sometimes we need to stop and imagine, if only to remind ourselves of the horror, destruction that was prevented. For example…
Almost a decade-and-a-half after the Sept. 11 attacks, the anniversary has receded in the minds of many.
Not so for one man in Florida, authorities say. A criminal complaint filed in federal court alleges that Joshua Ryne Goldberg, a 20-year-old living with his parents near Jacksonville, posed as an Australian jihadist and encouraged an attack in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday — the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11. He was charged with distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.
“Hopefully there will be some jihad on the anniversary of 9/11,” Goldberg reportedly told an FBI informant in a direct message.
How Goldberg allegedly came to be radicalized — and adopt the personality of an extremist on the other side of the world — is not clear. But the complaint includes quite disturbing, lengthy exchanges between Goldberg, who authorities said went online under variations of the handle “AusWitness,” and the informant, identified only as “CHS.”
The FBI became interested in AusWitness after someone using that name claimed responsibility for the attack at a “prophet Muhammad cartoon contest” in Garland, Tex., in May on a Web site.
AusWitness found the “perfect place” — the Kansas City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, an annual event during which “343 Firefighters will embark on a 110 story climb to the top of the Town Pavilion high rise in downtown Kansas City in remembrance of the 343 firefighters killed on 9-11-2001,” as the event’s Web site explained.
AusWitness: “Be careful … When you go there to place the bomb, make sure the bomb is VERY well hidden.”
CHS: “Where do you think would be best near the fire fighters or the crowd?”
AusWitness: “Good thinking … put the backpack near the crowd.”
AusWitness’s further advice for the pressure-cooker bomb: use “metal and nails” and “dip the screws and other shrapnel in rat poison before putting them in.” Those hit by them “will be more likely to die.”
Goldberg was arrested at home on Wednesday. He “claimed that he intended for the individual to either kill himself creating the bomb or, if not, that he intended to alert law enforcement just prior to the individual’s detonating the bomb, resulting in … credit for stopping the attack,” the complaint read.