Are you a frequent D.C. Metro rider?
As somebody who constantly uses Metro, I am not comforted by the news that a Metro transit police officer has been arrested for allegedly providing material support for ISIS is personal.
The arrested officer is Nicholas Young, the first law enforcement officer in the U.S.to be arrested for alleged ISIS connections.
CNN reports that Young had been on the FBI radar since 2010, soothingly adding:
There was no evidence of any threat to the DC Metro system.
Yeah? Somehow the notion of a harmless ISIS sympathizer operating as a friendly transit cop in the subway system does not fill me with confidence.
Young had traveled to Libya and admitted that he wanted to kill law enforcement officers, according to court papers. The Washington Post (subscription required) notes:
Young] threatened FBI agents, gave advice to suspected terrorists and mused about joining the Islamic State. . . .[He] sent codes for mobile messaging cards to an undercover federal agent in the belief that they would be used by Islamic State fighters overseas to communicate.
I guess I should be thankful that the FBI nabbed Young before he got around to a terrorist attack in the submways system. But I share Powerline's Paul Mirengoff's concerns:
What disturbs me most about this story is the fact that, although the FBI first became aware of Young’s involvement with terrorists in 2010, he remained on the job as a Metro police officer until today. How could this have happened?
The Post explains that it was not until last week that federal agents decided Young had committed the crime of attempting to support a terrorist organization. It seems to me that this conclusion, or the conclusion that he had committed another crime, was long overdue.
More fundamentally, we once again see terrorism being treated as a law enforcement issue.
Whether or not Young had technically committed a crime, he should not have been working in law enforcement, especially on a subway system that might well be the target of terrorists. It seems to me that Young should have been removed from that position years ago and, at a minimum, have been placed under intense surveillance.
Authorities say that that in the years they watched and interacted with Young, there never was any credible or specific threat to the Metro system. This claim strikes me as shockingly naive. A Metro police officer who supports ISIS, stockpiles arms, and threatens to kill people is an inherent threat to the Metro system.
Think of the many terror attacks after which it is revealed that the assailants were being monitored by agencies charged with protecting us from terror.
Perhaps the FBI was trying to keep Young in place to gain information. We don't know. But the news that an ISIS sympathizer had had the run of the subway system for half dozen years doesn't inspire confidence.
And enquiring minds want to know: What on earth was a man like Young doing in law enforcement?