"There are people in your county who are affiliated with known al-Qaida members overseas," was how the FBI agent who heads the counterterror squad for Bergen County put it.
What's surprising about this revelation of terrorists-among-us is how little it's being discussed in traditional media, and Muslim-rights groups.
CAIR New Jersey doesn't mention the FBI activity on its home page, and its news page is either offline or available to members only. This may simply be a matter of common sense. "Civil Rights Advocates" jumping to the defense of people engaged in criminal behavior because they belong to an "oppressed group" may be wearing thin, these days. And, that's a habit that isn't unique to, or characteristic of, Islamic-rights organizations - at least as far as I can see.
The New York Times doesn't seem to be covering this, and I've seen precious little coverage in any news outlet.
- On the one hand, I admire this stoic, stiff-upper-lip approach: a presumed trademark of the British.
- On the other hand, I'm a little concerned at what appears to be another news blackout of news that's not fit to print - in the opinion of whoever controls editorial policy in the tradition news media.
I don't think there's some big conspiracy of silence here.
I do think that we are quite likely looking at very understandable behavior by traditional news men. Their jobs became high-profile, prestigious positions after the JFK assassination and Watergate. Until cable television and then the Internet came along, they were part of a small, lofty, circle of information gatekeepers.
Now, the journalistic old guard is faced with a situation that is a very poor match to their world view. The beliefs which worked so well for them while covering the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, and Watergate, aren't as relevant to the war on terror. Racism (as it's been defined in America), the military-industrial complex, and rampant corruption in places of power, don't seem to be the big problem just now.
So, it would be understandable if traditional news media decided to ignore the terrorists in New Jersey, and hope that the whole thing blows over.
Maybe I'm being unfair.
If I'm not, the rest of us will have to stop assuming that if something important happened, it will be in the paper or on the evening news.