Swedish investigators report that the Muslim from Sweden who was caught with a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage intended to hijack the airplane and fly it into a US embassy somewhere in Europe. It seems clear that this guy is just a goofball and not part of an organized, competent group like Al Qaeda. It is unlikely the pistol could have escaped even the most rudimentary inspection; he never could have succeeded in hijacking the airplane (as far as we know he had no confederates; the Boeing 737 would have at least two pilots, there were more than 100 people on board, and a handgun is a poor weapon for close-quarters fighting); it is hard to see how he could have identified an embassy building in a large city–it would hardly stand out like the Pentagon or the World Trade Center–and the airplane’s passengers were largely Muslims traveling to an Islamic conference. This reminds us again of the fact–astonishing, I think–that in nearly a year, Al Qaeda has not been able to mount a successful attack, or even, as far as we know, come close to mounting one. If the Administration is getting any credit for this success, I haven’t seen it. Certainly John Ashcroft isn’t getting any kudos.
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