Wednesday, August 8

Goose Creek, South Carolina Terror Arrests - The Pieces do not Add Up

Now when I say that the pieces don't add up, I mean that nothing sounds right about these two guys. The more details that I read, the more I am convinced that they were up to no good. However, that will be up to a court to decide.

For starters, lets take the area where they were arrested. Sure, it was near a Navy Base. So what. The real interesting fact is that this was not near anything else. I am familiar with the area and the one thing about living in Charleston and going there was that the place was just out of the way. You basically never ended up there unless you were headed to the Navy base.

Now if they were off on a road trip as relatives mention in press reports, then why the hell were they not arrested speeding in the City of Charleston, or on the Isle of Palms, or down on James Island.

Really, you drive up from Tampa, Florida to Goose Creek?

This story mentions that they left Tampa around Midnight Friday. So they were arrested less than 18 hours after leaving Tampa. Say they took 8 hours to drive up, that leaves just the day for exploring. Of course this assumes that they made no other detours seeing that they were headed to North Carolina. (Which, by the way, does not include a trip through Charleston)

Could it be that the proclaimed trip to North Carolina was a cover story for checking out the Navy Base in Goose Creek? Why did they not tell their friends that they were stopping in Charleston? Charleston is worth a trip in itself. Especially if your going to be gone for only a weekend.

Then there is the issue of the explosives material. There are some reports that these were for making model rockets or fireworks, both of which are pretty easy to find in that part of the country without having to make your own. There is a huge model rocketry community in the US that builds their own rockets from scratch, including the fuel. However, I bet they all started with a Eastes model rocket kit before going off and making models of their own design. Still, many of them never make their own rocket motors as powerful solid-fuel rockets are available already. Has anyone ever seen either of these two shoot off a model rocket? Are their any model rocket materials in either of their homes?

The there is the small issue of the laptop. Most likely they were not surfing on the net from a moving car, although that is possible. Might they have been taking surveillance notes, or making driving directions? I guess we will find out if there was anything interesting on the laptop soon enough. I suspect the longer the delay, the more likely that something interesting was found on the computer. Who knows, maybe they are tracking down laptop leads as we speak. Then again, whatever is found, even pro-jihad videos, may be no confirmation that they were up to no good. Only that they have it.

Oh, you can forget the proclamations that these two are 'good boys' and have never gotten in trouble before and that they seem to fit in. That is how you can describe real terrorists currently hiding in the country. Not acting like a terrorist fits the profile of a potential terrorist. There is no need to point out that they have no links to known terrorists. Of course they don't. If they did, they would have been denied visas and refused entry into the country. (I hope.)

Now it is very possible that this is all one huge misunderstanding. That is fine as misunderstandings happen. The relevant fact in all of this is that these two raised suspicions when they were pulled over, which was why they were arrested. Now they have to go through the motions of sorting out what was a misunderstanding and what was not.

Much more information at Riehl World View. (Link updated to most recent post 8 Aug)

Update: 8 Aug 2007

The FBI has seized more computers in this case:

TAMPA - Investigators have removed computers from the family home of a University of South Florida student accused of having pipe bombs in his car, according to Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He said the FBI contacted the parents of Yousseff Samir Megahed of 4959 Anniston Circle, Tampa, who were on vacation, and got permission to search their home. When they returned, their computers were gone. - St. Petersburg Times

As found on The Jawa Report which points out that a third man, a roommate from Mauritania, may have fled the country.

Update II: 8 Aug 2007
One of today's readers emailed me the following comments concerning rocket motors:
Rocket motors, at least anything bigger than the little Estes stuff, require a BATF explosives license to purchase. Transporting them is another story. Special precautions must be made to transport them.

My husband is a model rocket person. We are not even able to keep motors at our home or warehouse. He purchases the motors at the shooting location because he is not licensed to store or transport, he is licensed only to purchase.

The BATF explosives license he has requires 2 FBI agents come and visit him yearly.

I doubt these guys had any license for rocket motors. I am sure large fireworks require the same type of background check k and license.

I just discovered your blog today. You do a good job. - Susan
Thanks much Susan!

So, based on these comments, even if they were doing nothing terrorist-related, they most likely violated some explosives law. Surely, that includes pipe bombs, which they were charged with possession of today.

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