"The clock was ticking. All they needed to do was to start killing"
It was not the most spectacular domestic terrorism plot since the Sept. 11 attacks, and certainly not the best-known.As the FBI's John Miller put it:
But no other case posed such a real and immediate threat as the audacious scheme to attack more than a dozen military centers, synagogues and other sites in Southern California, experts said Thursday.
"If you look at the roster of defendants in terrorism cases, it often seems like a casting call. They all have aspirations, but most lack real talent and helpful connections," said Brian Levin, an attorney and director of Cal State San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
"But here you actually had a case where defendants had a radicalized ideology, a list of targets and they had already gone from planning to operations," Levin said. "This was beyond merely a threat. In this instance, they were operational."
The clock was ticking. All they needed to do was to start killing.Because the wannabe jihadists were so close to carrying out their plots, investigators had to act with uncharacteristic speed:
In a matter of weeks, the FBI, Los Angeles and Torrance police departments and two dozen other agencies conducted 19 searches, seized two dozen computer hard drives and examined about 53,000 documents, all without the normal luxury of moving at their own pace with undercover informants, surveillance and wiretaps.Besides stopping the JIS' planned attacks, the case has resulted in new protocols between prison officials and anti-terror investigators, designed to track Islamic prison activities more closely.
Soon to follow: The CAIR/ACLU lawsuit against the new protocols.