Mass. Terror Suspect an 'Incompetent Wannabe'

Mehanna and accomplice were turned away from training in Yemen, Pakistan
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 12:56 PM CDT
Tarek Mehanna is seen outside the federal court in Boston.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Massachusetts man arrested yesterday for plotting to shoot up a mall, kill US troops fighting overseas, and assassinate US officials didn’t really have a chance. Tarek Mehanna traveled to Yemen in search of terrorism training but couldn't find a camp. His alleged accomplice was turned away from Pakistani terror group Lashkar e Tayyiba for not being Pakistani, and from the Taliban for “lack of experience.”

“The people in Massachusetts were never in any danger,” an FBI agent tells the Boston Herald. Though the plotters were stymied at every turn by lack of access to weapons, training, and support, experts caution against underestimating the threat. Mehanna “may be an incompetent wannabe who expressed some sympathy with radical ideas,” a scholar tells the Boston Globe. “But just because of that, you can’t assume that a more serious act isn’t out there.”