The FBI just announced the arrest of 5 men in Cleveland who were attempting to blow up a bridge as well as bomb a federal reserve bank over the next several weeks in celebration of May Day.
The men, all of whom are self–proclaimed anarchists, were not able to accomplish their terrorist plans in large part because all of the materials, logistics and planning were under keen observation from the FBI. Apparently the explosive devices that were to blow up a bridge during rush hour today were all purchased from undercover FBI agents and could not have been activated at any time by the terrorists.
So, here’s the true lesson from these arrests: this is much bigger than simply stopping some terrorists.
First, this highlights how terrorism is not always enacted from outsiders seeking to destroy America, but how it can originate within the United States, as well.
More importantly, the vigilance needed in terms of homeland security is much greater than many have been willing to accept over the last relatively safe set of years.
On a more personal note, the bridge that was the target of today’s attack is a mere 20 minutes from my home, I drive over that bridge almost weekly in order to go shopping or eat at my favorite overpriced Chinese Buffett. When 9-11 happened I was far away, and while I had family that worked in the Pentagon at one point, I knew they were not employed there at the time of the attacks and I didn’t have any major concerns.
However, this event, just a few minutes from my home, on a route that I drive on a regular basis has made terrorism hit home for me in a way that the devastation of 9-11 really never did. On any given day of this week, I could have been on that bridge. On any given day of this week had these anarchists been successful I could have died in a domestic terror attack. This is a sobering thought.
Often those of us in the Midwest view terrorism as a big city issue, something that happens in L.A., New York or Washington D.C. Even the Oklahoma City Bombing seems like an anomaly given how many attacks have been centered on New York City. This is an attack on a mid-western suburb, during rush hour, as well as a federal reserve bank. While by no means these targets are of no international interest, the destruction of a bridge and a bank attack could have devastating effects on the local and even region wide economy. In the wake of celebrating the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination it is important to remember that the War on Terror is as much domestic as it is overseas.
DR. JASON JOHNSON, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson