Friday, August 11, 2006

Sophomoric Solution

Philadelphia Inquirer considers ridiculous source.

As Mayor Street and the rest of the city struggle to thwart a mounting homicide rate, an elite group of 37 has spent the last six weeks brainstorming solutions.

Panel members suggest a "stop-and-frisk" checkpoint, with police monitoring everyone passing through for weapons. They recommend more job programs for felons, more community policing, tougher gun laws, and more positive outlets for youth.

They are not convinced hiring more officers would help.

Their group has much at stake in stopping the violence that has gripped their city this year.

They are about to be sophomores at the city's high schools. And many of them live in neighborhoods wracked by violence and know the victims.

Vague But Valuable

Philadelphia Inquirer showcases tip that spawned investigation.

It all began with a tip: In the aftermath of the July 7, 2005, transit bombings in London, British authorities received a call from a worried member of the Muslim community, reporting general suspicions about an acquaintance.

From that vague but vital piece of information, according to a senior European intelligence official, British authorities opened the investigation into what they said turned out to be a well-coordinated and long-planned plot to bomb multiple trans-Atlantic flights heading toward the United States - an assault designed to rival the scope and lethality of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings.

By late 2005, the probe had expanded to involve several hundred investigators on three continents who kept dozens of suspects under close surveillance for months, even as some of the plotters traveled between Britain and Pakistan to raise money, find recruits, and refine their scheme, according to interviews with U.S. and European counterterrorism officials.

"It's not like three weeks ago all of a sudden MI5 knew about this plot and went to work," a U.S. law-enforcement official said, speaking of the British security service. "They'd had a concern about these guys for some time, for months. Details started to emerge, and it became clear over the last couple weeks the nature of the threat and the individuals." The official, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity.

From Comical to Confident to Concerned

“They're Still Plotting and Planning"

Philadelphia Daily News debates yesterday’s ramifications.

Was yesterday's stunning arrest of 24 Muslim extremists in Great Britain in an alleged plot to blow up as many as 10 jumbo jets over the Atlantic Ocean a good sign, that the West is winning the fight against terrorism?

Or is it something else - not only a grim reminder of the ongoing threat to Americans but a warning that a new generation of homegrown terrorists, increasingly radicalized by events in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere, is on the march?