As the suspects were charged before a United States Magistrate Judge, Joel Schneider, prosecutors described a complicated operation that was at once ambitious and meandering, marked by deadly weapons and a certain lack of sophistication. The suspects alternately declared themselves eager to sacrifice their lives in the name of Allah and expressed ambivalence, worrying about getting arrested or deported for buying weapons or possessing a map of a military base.
But one of the suspects was a former sniper in Kosovo, the authorities said. And as they sought to amass the machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades they intended to use in the attack, and members of the cell trained with automatic weapons at a shooting range in Gouldsboro, Pa.
"When it comes to defending your religion, when someone is trying to attacks your religion, your way of life, then you go jihad," Eljvir Duka, 23, who also went by the nickname Elvis, is quoted as saying in the complaint.
Likewise, the criminal complaint asserted, "CW-1 consensually recorded two meetings with ELJVIR DUKA. In summary, ELJVIR DUKA stated that they would need to receive a 'fatwa' before they could attack." "During this trip, ELJVIR DUKA and DRITAN DUKA discussed the need to train so that they could go overseas on 'jihad.'" (That's connected to the Eljvir Duka quote mentioned in the earlier article, but it highlights that the "jihad" discussion involved two of the conspirators.)
Are the earlier Times account and the criminal complaint mistaken? If they are accurate, then how can it be accurate to say that "it is unclear what role, if any, religion played in the [planned] attack"? I'm sure one can argue that it's unclear precisely what role religion played in the planned attack -- such estimates are always a judgment call -- but it does look like it played some role, no?
Thanks to NewsBusters for the pointer.