As you can see in our news feature, we’ve got a run-down of the four guys who made up the Newburgh Four, the ones arrested Tuesday night for attempting to blow up a synagogue in Riverdale, New York.
I have a fascination with the ne’er-do-wells and grifters and mental patients and would-be tough guys who get picked up in these D-Team terrorist stings like this and the Liberty Eight case from a couple years ago. In any case, it’s a fascinating read, so I strongly recommend it to you. But there’s one thing that jumped out at me. The sting was put together by a Pakistani immigrant who got arrested back in 2002 for helping immigrants cheat on their drivers’ tests. (Yes, there are several novels in this one.) And he’s been working as government informant since then to stay out of the slammer. But here’s the thing. This isn’t this guy’s first score.
A few years back he posed as a terrorist arms dealer and busted two guys from Albany, Mohammed Hossain and Yassin Aref. I don’t think it necessarily means anything one way or another. But you’d think that once you’d pulled off your first major counter-terrorism sting, your usefulness as a CI would be sort of compromised and the feds would put you out to pasture. But apparently not.
Given the sophistication of these dudes, his target audience doesn’t seem to be a really sharp bunch.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.