Buried in the middle of an article today about the takedown of supposed would-be terrorists Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh by the NYPD is the following:
“Federal prosecutors declined to press the case, saying the plan was more aspirational than operational,” sources said.
And there was this:
“There’s no way they could be terrorists; they are too stupid,” a neighbor said of Ferhani. “Him and his brother are always out in the street smoking pot and fighting.”
And there was this: Ferhani had prior arrests for robbery, pot possession, disorderly conduct, and weapons possession. Mamdouh had been busted for burglary.
This case was treated with the usual hoopla surrounding a terror plot — Mayor Bloomberg’s people saw fit to “tweet” a photo of the arrest (at right) — but “more aspirational than operational,” stupid,” pot-smoking, prior arrests?
One can’t help but think of the Newburgh 4 case, in which the FBI used an overly aggressive informant to push along four desperately poor former convicts who weren’t all that interested in terrorism until the informant started promising to make them rich.
Even then, according to an exclusive Voice interview with Newburgh 4 member David Williams, they were trying to scam the informant out of as much money as they could without actually doing any violence. See our coverage on that case here.
Moreover, if the same feds who pursued the Newburgh 4 so aggressively were so ambivalent about these two Queens schlubs that they refused to prosecute the case then you’ve got to wonder just how real this new supposed terror plot was.
Anyway, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance opted to take the case when the feds balked, and now these men are facing life in prison.