Treating Terrorism as a Crime…Nine years later!

The FBI said today that they are announcing the addition of two individuals to our Most Wanted Terrorists list, along with substantial rewards for information leading to their capture.

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Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso is sought for his role in the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed.

Husayn Muhammad al-Umari is wanted in connection with the 1982 bombing of Pan Am Flight 830, which resulted in the  death of a teenage passenger and injury to 16 others. The flight, bound from Japan to Hawaii, carried 267 people.

alrimi1 The U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program is offering up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or convictions of these individuals.

We are also announcing today that we have added Abdullah al-Rimi to our Seeking Information-War on Terrorism list. Unlike al-Quso and al-Umari, who are under indictment in the U.S., al-Rimi has not been charged but is wanted for questioning in connection with the USS Cole bombing.

Al-Quso, who speaks Arabic, is believed to be 35 years old. He was born in Yemen and may still be living there.

The USS Cole bombing took place on October 12, 2000, when suicide terrorists exploded a small boat alongside the Navy destroyer as it was refueling in the port of Aden. The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole in the ship. In addition to the 17 who died, many were injured.

Al-Umari, 73, who may be carrying a Lebanese passport, is one of three people indicted for the Pan Am Flight 830 bombing and is alleged to have built the device that was placed under a seat and detonated while the plane was in flight.

Sometimes called “The Bomb Man” because he is an explosives expert, al-Umari formed the terrorist group 15 May Organization in 1979. The group’s mission was to promote the Palestinian cause through violence toward supporters of Israel. A Sunni Muslim who doesn’t drink or gamble, al-Umari is said to enjoy smoking Cuban cigars.

We need your help to find these three individuals, all of whom should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. If you have any information concerning these alleged terrorists, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or consulate, or submit a tip electronically.

With today’s additions, there are now 24 people on our Most Wanted Terrorists list, which was established a month after the 9/11 terror attacks. The State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program, established in 1984, has paid nearly $80 million to more than 50 people who provided information that prevented international terrorist attacks or helped bring others to justice for previous crimes.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  Ok ladies and gentlemen, here is a perfect reason why terrorism should be treated as a military operation instead of a criminal prosecution.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the FBI is doing everything they can; however, they are not equipped to handle operations such as these.

It pains me to hear Obama and many others on the left talk about our system of justice, and how great it is, and how they want the world to see how great it is by offering the same protections to individuals who are not U.S. Citizens and who would like nothing better than to kill more Americans.

When will these “do nothing” President’s understand that the only way to fight terrorism, is to act quickly and decisively!  In many ways, Mr. Obama is no different than Mr. Clinton, in this case, it was Mr. Clinton who dropped the ball on the USS Cole and now Mr. Obama is trying to pick up the pieces, 9 years later!

Both of them could take a lesson from Reagan’s playbook:

In 1985 the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro was hijacked by terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in an attempt to free political prisoners and terrorists by putting pressure on the Israeli government.

During the hijacking of the cruise liner, the terrorists murdered the American Leon Klinghoffer.

When hearing about it aboard Air Force One returning from Chicago, Reagan told his National Security Team, “Go Get Them!” and Get Them we did…

US intelligence uncovered the plans of the PLO terrorists and then US President Ronald Reagan ordered the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea to take action against the flight of the terrorists from Egypt to Libya.

What followed was condemned by many as an act of "airborne piracy", but it was in fact a well planned precision operation by carrier aircraft launched from USS Saratoga (CV-60) and intelligence aircraft from the USAF: No less than seven F-14As from VF-74 and VF-103 were launched, four to undertake the interception of the B737 plus three to fly top cover for the unlikely event that Libyan fighters would take aggressive action against the US aircraft. Additionally, an E-2C, four KA-6D tankers, EA-6B Prowlers, EA-3B Sky Warriors and a RC-135 electronic intelligence aircraft participated in the operation.

Once on its way to Libya, the Egypt Air Boeing 737 with the terrorists on board was located by an E-2C Hawkeye which vectored the Tomcats into position to perform the interception. The Tomcats approached the B737 with all lights extinguished in total radio silence, only using modern data link facilities between the participating aircraft. The Tomcats positioned themselves ahead, to the rear and on each side of the airliner.

Once in position, the F-14s switched on position lights and made a call to the B737 pilot to follow. Without another choice the airliner was escorted to NAS Sigonella in Italy, where a Navy SEAL (Sea-Air-Land) team surrounded the airliner and captured the terrorists.

All this was accomplished within 6 days of the incident.

When asked about the bombing of the USS Cole, Clinton had this to say, “This tragic loss should remind us all that even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military risk their lives every day in places where comforts are few and dangers are many.”

When asked about the shooting at Foot Hood, TX, Obama has this to say, “These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to the rest of us on a daily basis," the president continued. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

In comparrison, when asked about the Achille Lauro incident, Reagan had this to say, “Terrorists thought they could murder an innocent American and get away with it, they thought wrong.”

Sometimes I wonder if America couldn’t take a lesson from the Roman playbook when it comes to terrorism.  There was a time on this planet, when a citizen of Rome could walk without fear anywhere in the civilized world, because it was well known that to harm a citizen of Rome was to attack Rome itself, the mere thought of which, coupled with Rome’s retribution for harming one of it’s citizens was too terrible to contemplate.

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

18 Responses to Treating Terrorism as a Crime…Nine years later!

  1. Kaden says:

    “The Iranian’s feared Reagan and what he might do.”

    Everyone feared Reagan. He even got the North Koreans to take notice! We need another Commander in Chief with the foreign relations chutzpah he had.

  2. EagleWatch says:

    Jim and TV are right that the hostages were released upon Reagan’s swearing in, and that it had everything to do with his tough stance. It was later, during his adimistration when he reacted to the bombings by withdrawing the Marines that Hizbollah and others interpreted it as a sign of weakness, and they were proven right up until the WTC and Pentagon attacks in 2001.

  3. TVNews says:

    That’s the way I remember it. It was not lost on anyone, President Carter and the liberal media included, that the embassy hostages were on the way home within 20 minutes of Regan’s swearing in.

  4. Libby says:

    Jimr: I’m not sure what you mean by “logging in”. I thought I was from before? Do I have to go to BlogPosts every time I comment and log in each time? I just did that so we’ll see if it works. If not, I’ll need more instruction as to how to do that. Sorry [sighs].

    I’d like to reply to your last comment, Jimr. I am even older than EW and I think I remember the Iran hostage crisis just as well as he does. There is a different political spin than the one the “right” likes to cite all the time. The right maintains that Iran was so intimidated by the thought of R.R. becoming president and how he would punish them that they immediately released the hostages because they feared Reagan’s retribution.

    I remember that immediately after R.R. was elected President in Nov.’79, the media at the time was speculating that Iran would release the hostages immediately after the next administration took office–but not before and not as long as Jimmy Carter was president. In his last year of office Jimmy Carter was obsessed with gaining the release of those hostages. Many say that he lost the election to R.R. because he sequestered himself in the White House and refused to campaign. Iran saw this as a way to manipulate the U.S. and prove that they could influence the outcome of our elections. In other words, they were a force to be reckoned with and “The Great Satan” had better take them seriously. Pretty headie stuff from their perspective…Americans were disgusted with Carter by this time. They hated him for his obvious show of “weakness” in the face of Iran’s tauntings. He was practically begging Iran to release those hostages before he left office and it was humiliating. Iran was right in that they judged Carter as a weakling, that’s for sure. When it came to war and making war, Carter avoided it at all costs. So it wasn’t so much R.R’s fearsome presence that frightened the Iranians into releasing the hostages as the right claims. Iran was ready to release the hostages as soon as J.C. left office and they did. Within 20 hours as you have pointed out. The deal was in the works the day after the ’79 election. And that’s the “spin” from the left.

    Do I have my facts correct, EW?

  5. jimr says:

    I agree with TV. It’s no coincidence that within hours after Reagan was sworn in, the hostages in Tehran were released. I honestly believe (and EW can correct me as I was young) – The Iranian’s feared Reagan and what he might do.

  6. TVNews says:

    Libby, your history is faulty in that Carter that set the stage for the Arab world to think of us as weak and unwilling to defend ourselves. Bin Laden’s statement was merely an extension of what the Arab world already believed.

  7. jimr says:

    Admin Note:  Libby, it appears that you are not signed in when posting these comments; because I still have to approve them.  Please make sure you are logged in, prior to posting, so that your comments will be viewable immediately.  If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask.

  8. Libby says:

    To EW:
    You’ll get no argument from me about killing the bad guys. I have no problem with that. In a perfect world, we will know just exactly who they are and where they are and abra-kadab-rah, we’ll find ‘um and kill ‘um! Starting with Osama-bin-laden. Viola! Problem solved. “Let’s ROLL!”

  9. EagleWatch says:

    In Middle Eastern minds, we were the weak horse until our reaction to 9/11. That’s the cross-cultural (not to mention the practical) problem with treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem. It’s reactive rather than proactive — it allows the act of terror and then prosecutes the perps. Well, those willing to die in an attack have no fear of a jurisprudential system. Any deterrent affect we like to think it has on criminals — and recidivism rates would tend to nullify that — is lost on terrorists.

    Terrorists, in general, and religious terrorists in particular, need to be preemptively struck and killed (I would advise against capture until this administration is out).

  10. Libby says:

    TV, it looks to me like EW is substantiating my “faulty history”. However, I’m sure I must be wrong. R.R. never did anything wrong, right? I look forward to you explaining all of this away for me.

  11. TVNews says:

    What did you expect him say? Did you expect him to say, “The Americans found themselves in a no win situation with no real strategic interest here so they left.”

  12. EagleWatch says:

    Actually, the Reagan administration’s decision to pull out of Beirut after the Hizbollah attack on the Marine barracks (and one near our embassy) was one of the reasons cited by bin Laden as proof that America is the “weak horse”.

  13. TVNews says:

    As usual Libby, your history is faulty.

  14. EagleWatch says:

    Good post and good responses.

    I especially like Jason’s reminder that we are following a Rome-esque path to self-destruction, but would like to remind him of one aspect of Rome’s problem that we still have a chance to correct — Rome overextended after it had lost its republic. We still have a chance to vote these miscreants out.

    I always put a Post-It note on my bathroom mirror every election season:

    Look around … incumbents have done this!

  15. Libby says:

    I notice you made no mention of Ronald Reagan’s decision to abandon the Marine Barracks in Beirut after it was attacked by suicide bomber terrorists and so many soldiers were killed. I have heard that that decision contributed to Al Quaida’s perception that America was weak and wouldn’t retaliate against attacks. Just in the interest of fairness, I thought I’d bring that up.

  16. Jim,
    Good post. A couple of things come to mind:

    During the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, U.S. military intelligence lost track of the cruise ship several times. This was despite having submarines in the Mediterranean.

    However, due to the efforts of an American hero, Lt. Col. Oliver North, it was located through his contacts within Israeli intelligence (they had a man onboard the ship).

    My only point in bringing that up is to say that we should continue to work with and protect our allies (such as Israel) that are just as much concerned with terrorism as we are. They can help us in the fight as well.

    While I disagree with past policies regarding “detainees”, I do agree with you that it is a military matter, and I would like to see military tribunals hand out justice for terrorists we capture.

    I also like your comparison to Rome, and protecting citizens. However, like Rome, we are going bankrupt due to bad political leadership, and corruption within our government.

  17. TVNews says:

    You got that right. President Carter screwed up that whole messing with a US Citizen thing for us. Right up to the point Carter rolled over and played dead for the Iranian “students,” US citizens around the world enjoyed pretty much the same status as the old Roman citizens did.

  18. Kaden says:

    Agreed. Theodore Roosevelt had it right when he said “walk softly, but carry a big stick”. As Americans, we have access to the biggest whackin’ stick in the world. Why do we pussyfoot around when we should be kicking rear ends? Swift, severe retribution is what is called for and it is the only thing that will make those who would rather see us dead think twice before putting any plans into action.