The Sting and the Argentine

Law enforcment officials have uncovered a plot to blow up multiple DC metro stations, according to the lead story in Thursday's Washington Post. The Post and the New York Times report that the suspect, arrested in Northern Virginia Wednesday, thought he was hooking up with al-Qaeda operatives to pitch his idea, when in fact it was all part of a sting involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now the only question is whether Farooque Ahmed came up with the plan himself, or if the FBI floated the idea to him to see if he'd carry it out (which is how the FBI has instigated other sting operations, the Post says).

But the two papers disagree over what originally raised authorities' suspicions. The Post says he had tried to acquire suspicious materials, while the Times reports that he told some acquaintences about his intentions, who then alerted the FBI back in April. Ahmed—a thirty-four-year-old contractor with a computer science degree from CUNY working for the telecommunications company Ericsson—allegedly was suveilled casing various metro stations to figure out how he could kill the most passengers. And there are conflicting reports about his wife: his neighbor claims, "she wore a full hijab," but she was also a member of a playdate group for moms and kids called "Hip Muslim Moms." Washingtonpost.com has more on what their neighbors are thinking.

Gawker sees a trend: "As is the custom among would-be terrorists, they 'kept to themselves and were quiet neighbors.'" Over at Salon.com, Justin Elliot wonders if the FBI "cooked up a fake bomb plot" and says the reporting "offers some juicy tidbits" that mainly reveal, "The Feds are not ready to tell the public very much about this case." But Outside the Beltway says the fact that law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend Ahmed before anything happened is "slightly comforting." And JoshuaPundit is convinced that a closer look at Ahmed will reveal "a Saudi-funded wahabi mosque and a radical Muslim Brotherhood oriented imam," although there has been no indication of his connection to either yet. 

In world news, the Wall Street Journal (on its front page) and the Times headline the death of ex–Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, who was also married to the South American country's current leader, Cristina Kirchner. Mr. Kirchner was apparently seen as the puppet master of the current government in Buenos Aires, and his death leaves the political situation in the country "murky," with a likely power struggle to ensue, and "opens the possbility that the country could shift away from its combative populist policies." The Journal reports not everyone is all shook up over his death, either—"Argentine asset prices surged" as investors are hoping for more "market-friendly policies."