December 29, 2008 9:47AM

Fort Dix Five Convicted

In case you missed it, five foreign‐​born defendants have been convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ, a site often used to train up reservists for deployment to Iraq. These guys are essentially terrorist wannabes, but they did have some weapons training and may have perpetrated an attack if left to their own devices. 

While the government made the effort to try some aspiring terrorists, it has bungled the prosecution of Ali al‐​Marri, an exchange student and alleged sleeper agent for Al Qaeda. The government moved him to military custody at the naval brig in Charleston, SC. Then the government asked the presiding judge to dismiss the charges against al‐​Marri with prejudice, meaning that they cannot be re‐​filed if he moves back to civilian custody. That was a very peculiar thing for the government to do and may end up wasting good police and intelligence work. 

The Fourth Circuit held that he can be held as an enemy combatant, but the Supreme Court granted certiorari and is slated to hear arguments in March. 

For more on the future of counterterrorism policy, check out Cato’s upcoming conference. This is part of a three‐​year project on counterterrorism and civil liberties.