Edge on Terrorism
|George Friedman||July 28th 2011|
An AWOL U.S. soldier was arrested the evening of July 27 on an outstanding child pornography warrant in Killeen, Texas, and is suspected to have been plotting an attack on Fort Hood. The suspect, Pfc. Nasser Jason Abdo from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was reportedly arrested by the Killeen Police Department after an alert citizen noticed he was acting suspiciously and called police. Local TV station KCEN said explosives were found in his car, and FOX News is reporting two other U.S. military personnel have been arrested and that weapons and explosives were also found in their possession. According to sources in the U.S. law enforcement community, a reported plot by three U.S. military personnel to attack Fort Hood was in the advanced stages of planning.
Though there is no confirmation that an attack was in the works, the reports are reason for concern. Much has been written about the possibility of grassroots plots, particularly in revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden. The fear is that Abdo or the other two suspects were planning an attack similar to that of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who carried out one of the few successful grassroots attacks in the United States due to his tactical choice of conducting an armed assault.
The most notable aspect in the thwarting of this alleged plot is that it appears that an alert citizen may have prevented the potential attack. KCEN reported that someone noticed the main suspect, Abdo, acting suspiciously outside an Americaâ€™s Best Value Inn in Killeen and reported him to police. Police found that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Fort Campbell over child pornography found on his government computer.
Abdo was previously stationed in Fort Hood, so he may have been hiding with the help of friends and could have used his knowledge of the base to plan such an attack. Abdo went AWOL on July 4, right before he was scheduled for his first deployment to Afghanistan. He had previously had his application for conscientious objector status approved but was being investigated for child pornography before he could be discharged. Due to the investigation he could not be discharged, and that may have been his reason for going AWOL. He had also participated in major media interviews about his experience in the military while applying for conscientious objector status. The identities and arrest locations of the other two U.S. military personnel are unclear.
While experts will continue to investigate the details of this alleged plot, at this point, it serves as a reminder that citizens can serve as defenders against grassroots attacks.
George Friedman is the founder and editor of STRATFOR, from where this article has been adapted.