German Terror Plot Highlights Real Threats

Let me say this up front, the disrupted terrorist plot in Germany appears by all accounts to be a great success in the fight against terror. There you go, I said it. Now let me say something else. This success was accomplished by German authorities working under what are arguably some of the strictest rules of engagement remaining in the Western world.

Now it would be a stretch to assume there were no “warrantless wiretaps” involved as it appears the initial tip off came from U.S. sources,

Mr. Ziercke said the United States aided German authorities in their investigation. Another security official here said the Americans tipped off the Germans to the existence of the Islamic Jihad Union.

Maybe we were playing a little good cop (Germany) bad cop (U.S.). Who knows. But it is still worth noting that the successful breakup of a terror plot was accomplished mainly with good old gum-shoe police work – gee, what a novelty.

German officials were visibly relieved by the arrests, which they said were a six-month investigation involving 300 people from the police and prosecutor’s office. On Wednesday, police raided 41 houses and apartments across Germany, seizing computers and other evidence.

Any way you cut it it is a success and it certainly should serve as a reminder that there is more to the “war on terror” than the Iraq conflict. Let’s not forget that while we argue over political issues here at home.

Others blogging this topic include: Gateway Pundit, Greatscat!, THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS, The American Street, Captain’s Quarters, Jihad Watch, The Jawa Report, Scared Monkeys and JammieWearingFool

8 Responses to “German Terror Plot Highlights Real Threats”

  1. scott says:

    The police did in fact intercept numerous phone calls between the men and contacts in Pakistan so wiretapping was used. That kind of makes your entire point moot, doesn’t it?

    This from Spiegel:

    “Daniel S. visited a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in March 2006. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the other two were likewise in Pakistan at the end of 2006 and it is thought that they too spent some time in a training camp. Since then, investigators have intercepted numerous phone calls between the suspects and contacts in Pakistan.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,504037,00.html

  2. My entire point was that it was a success regardless and that we need to quit sniping as there is indeed a REAL terror threat. But thank you for the clarification Scott.

  3. Of course the Spiegel article does not say there was “warrantless wiretapping” involved, only wiretapping. Wiretaps have long been a tool of law enforcement and are typically procured with a warrant. How does this make my point moot?

  4. Um… yeah… Scott.

    that’s kind of the point.

    I’m down with the wiretapping. You do the gruntwork, get your ducks in a row, and are able to convince a judge that the target warrants wiretapping, then by all means, tap-tap-tap away.

    It’s the whole, we’ll tap whomever we want and we’ll kinda just let the judge know about it after it’s done that we throw the bullshit flag at.

    And there was a whole other point to the post, at least that’s what I got, and it had something to do with Iraq.

  5. Frank Hagan says:

    German courts are sensitive to civil rights issues, but I’m not sure you need a court’s approval to intercept conversations in Germany (see http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/28/news/germany.php for a recent case where a German state’s wiretap law was struck down). It looks like all the police have to do is show that there is evidence of a crime being committed to intercept voice, data and email communications. I’m not sure what level of evidence is needed in Germany.

    America may be alone in requiring a court order to conduct wiretapping; I don’t know for certain, but our civil rights here are stronger than in many other countries.

  6. Okay, the warrant is symbolic in nature in this argument, and essentially it means that you have performed a certain task. It’s the task that is valid and that task being that you collect evidence first, and then have someone double check to make sure that you aren’t infringing upon someone’s civil liberties, right?

    You don’t NEED a warrant, you need what the warrant signifies what has occurred. In the case of what Bush is doing here is he’s putting the cart before the donkey. He’s doing the wiretapping first, then going to a judge and saying, see, I already didn’t violate someones rights. The problem with that is that the safety check comes in after wrogdoing has already occurred. At that point, what are you supposed to do? Slap the President on the wrist and tell him not to do it again?

  7. Frank Hagan says:

    In this case, German law prevails. AFAIK, it looks like German law only requires “evidence” that a crime is being committed for the police to decide, on their own, to start wiretapping.

    As far as American wiretaps of non-citizens/non-residents overseas, our law allows surveillance without a warrant, but I would expect Germany to be a bit testy if they found out about it. Do we think that’s what has happened here? I suspect the German intelligence services were the point people on this; they have much more experience in dealing with terrorism than we do. We evidently shared information with them, but it looks like this was their operation.

    The idea of limiting government’s surveillance has to do with limiting the power of government so your rights are not trampled. Our government is charged with protecting our rights and protecting our persons. It fails whenever either one is compromised. Sometimes the two goals are at odds, so we have rules that may seem nonsensical to other countries.

    Remember, in Germany, free speech is limited: you can go to prison for political speech, as a holocaust denier recently did.

  8. True, and when you come to that conflict, you have to ask yourself, which is more important.

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