Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said they appeared to “just be some guys on a prank.” The surveillance video from inside the courthouse showed them wearing sombreros and dancing with a judge’s gavel. Laura Jesse, spokeswoman for Bexar County, brushed off the possibility of a terrorism connection in remarks to the media.
“It’s pretty entertaining at least,” she said. “Usually when you think of someone trying to commit a terrorist attack it’s not with a sombrero and waving a gavel.”
“There was some alcohol involved, so that leads us to believe they might not have known what they were doing, what building they were breaking into,” said Deputy Chief Dale Bennett.
The videotape does provide reason to believe that the five Moroccans were just a bunch of drunken misfits, but the disturbing coincidences should not be dismissed. The media’s quick changing of its coverage to calm public nerves was not warranted. At the least, the facts pointing towards more insidious motives should be a part of the story.
When Robert Spencer of JihadWatch.org was on the KSAT website reading about the story, he noticed that its content changed. The shocking headline changed to, “5 Arrested in Break-in at Bexar County Courthouse.” The lead changed from saying, “Three men described by law enforcement officials as Muslims” to “Five men of foreign descent.” Readers were left ignorant of why the story was important and even of the fact that the five arrested were Muslims.
The Associated Press, likewise, said they were “five foreign nationals with French visas” that were “later described as harmless bar hoppers just goofing around.” No explanation was given as to why the FBI initially handled it as a “high priority” situation. Instead, the article’s readers were left with the impression that the authorities had an almost comical overreaction.
It may be true that the group of five French-Moroccans, three of whom have names on the FBI’s watch list, are not connected to terrorism and just made a very big mistake. However, there is more than enough reason to suspect that this isn’t the case, and the media and government officials have a duty to recognize that. There may be a bigger story here, but in part due to political correctness, it will fade away and be forgotten.
As Robert Spencer wrote, “the Hamas-linked CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] will be so pleased.”
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