As "Marginalized" As Ever....
The terrorist plot, in the words of one FBI official, involved "martyrdom and explosives": suicide bombers who would attack train tunnels used by tens of thousands of commuters in an effort to bring death and flooding to lower Manhattan.Even if the suspect didn't receive specific orders from bin Laden, it's crystal-clear that bin Laden's ability to evade capture and taunt the U.S. is an inspiration to others. Exactly what will it take to make his capture or killing a priority?
Eight suspects had hoped to pull off the attack in October or November, federal officials said. But federal investigators working with their counterparts in six other countries intervened before the suspects could travel to the United States and become a more serious threat, officials said Friday.
Initial reports said the suspects — including an al-Qaida loyalist arrested in Lebanon and two others in custody elsewhere — wanted to attack the Holland Tunnel, a major thoroughfare that carries cars beneath the Hudson River and into Manhattan.
But officials said the group, with five suspects still at large, had specifically mentioned only the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation train tunnels, which carry more than 215,000 passengers each weekday between New York and New Jersey.
"This is a plot that involved martyrdom and explosives," said FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon.
Officials cited the arrest of the Lebanese suspect — described as the scheme's mastermind — as a significant break in the investigation. A Lebanese official said the Beirut man confessed to plotting to attack the tunnels later this year, and that he was acting on Osama bin Laden's orders.