The Charleston Terrorist Story **UPDATE**

UPDATE: 6:42 p.m. CDT: MSNBC.com now reporting that the two Muslim men arrested near the Charleston Naval Weapons Station were in possession of pipe bombs. Their attorney assures us that a) they have a really good reason for possessing pipe bombs, and b) the two Middle Eastern men with pipe bombs near a Navy base are victims of racial profiling. Whatever. Profile away.

Before details about the pipe bombs were released, the executive director of a civil rights organization for Muslims in Tampa criticized the arrest as racial profiling, an accusation South Carolina police denied.

“Definitely this is not related to terrorism,” said Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Had these been two good ol’ boys from South Carolina driving through and speeding — and even if they did have some fireworks — nobody would have been arrested,” Bedier said.

Kiss my good ol' boy white ass, you terrorist sympathizer. And go back to wherever the hell you came from. CAIR is a terrorist front--just wait.

Officers became suspicious because the men quickly put away a laptop computer and couldn’t immediately say what they were doing in the area or where they were going, DeWitt said.

I'll bet they had trouble coming up with a story. By this morning, their lawyer was saying the two were headed to NC to celebrate a birthday. Perhaps the pipe bombs were just big, m--- f---ing candles.

We now return to the original post . . .

The Discerning Texan has the latest round-up of this story, and Michelle Malkin's growing post is full of chilling details. I thought I'd throw in a little local color having been stationed in Charleston for seven years.

The Naval Weapons Station is a short trip up the Cooper River from the Naval Station, but it's a very long drive in a car. Security at the Weapons Station was tight. Very tight. Unlike typical bases where spouses could gain access simply by showing a dependent ID card, access to the Weapons Station was by name: if you're not on the list, you don't get on. And that went for active duty, too. During the Cold War, those of us assigned to a submarine in refit at the Weapons Station had a special sticker on our ID cards.

As you can see from this Google Earth satellite photograph, the weapons station is mostly woods, or appears to be when viewed from ground or river level. Red Bank Road, home of the infamous Red Bank Club where I drank my fill of Budweiser and shot countless games of pool, is the only access to and from the main gate. Red Bank Road turns into Highway 176, the road where the suspects were pulled over, at Highway 52 in Hanahan. If the suspects were pulled over in Goose Creek, then they were pretty darn close to the Weapons Station. The military housing, Exchange and Commissary, and associated family support facilities lie outside the gates of the station in a development known as the L. Mendell Rivers Complex.

On the Google Earth images, the roads east of North Rhett Extension are unlabeled. (Use the Hybrid view and drag the image slowly left and right--you'll see what I mean.) That's far less secure than when TerraServer first came into being nearly a decade ago. The Weapons Station was still blotted out from the satellite view.

If Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed were planning anything for the Weapons Station, they'd have encountered problems. I won't detail any of the security, but it is thorough and effective. There are other valuable targets for terrorists in the area, but, again, I'm going to give them any ideas. According to at least one report, the two were pulled over travelling away from the Weapons Station. If they are bad guys, it's possible they intended to get arrested to test security. Or they may have been casing the Weapons Station and obtained the information they needed. Either way, they could be as lethal in jail as they are on the loose--like a rabid animal that recently died.

Charleston and surrounding areas are wonderful places to live or vacation. Isle of Palms, Seabrook, and Kiawah Islands are gorgeous, though a bit pricy. The people are top shelf, too. If you live in the Low Country, best wishes. I hope to get back for a look around next year.

Earlier Post