The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, August 06, 2007
UPDATED More updates on the "Charleston 2"
Also the Charleston Post and Courier is reporting that the two men have been charged with felonies.
State authorities in South Carolina are saying there will be a press conference later this morning to announce charges. The FBI, meanwhile, seems to be throwing cold water on the whole incident — sometimes they do that because it really is a false alarm, but they have also been known, much like the mainstream media, to understate things when Muslims are involved, so we'll just have to see.
Here's what I think the reporting indicates at this point. In the late evening on Saturday, two non-Americans of Middle Eastern descent, Ahmed Mohamed and Yousef Megahed, who appear to be in the U.S. to pursue engineering studies in Florida, were pulled over for speeding in a van on Highway 176 in Goose Creek, near Charleston, South Carolina. Goose Creek is home to the United States Naval Weapons Station, which, among other things, houses the brig where some U.S. citizens alleged to be unlawful enemy combatants have been held.
One of the men reportedly tried to hide a laptop computer. Police became suspicious. Eventually, the vehicle was searched. Initially, there was a report that one completed bomb and other explosives related compounds were found. Later reports indicate that police found PVC (polyvinyl Chloride) piping (which can be used in making pipe bombs but also has many other industrial uses), model rocket motors (model rocket engine igniters can also be used as charges for pipe bombs), and other "suspicious" materials which have not been revealed yet (to make pipe bombs you would need some kind of explosive substance).
Police closed the highway for several hours, well into Sunday morning. Moreover, at about 2:45 a.m., they did a controlled detonation of something — not yet described although it apparently sounded to witnesses like fireworks.
There will hopefully be more details after the press conference today...
UPDATE Dan Riehl has more:
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy has a second update at The Corner:
John Little has an update - FBI results on explosives due back in a day, or two.
According to the latest, one of the young men arrested in South Carolina was from Egypt and the other from Kuwait, and they could be looking at from 2 - 15 years. No word on any potential immigration charges. But drivers might want to make a note, it probably isn't a good idea to be speeding with a laptop computer and some other suspicious items in your trunk, especially when you're about ten miles away from two Nuclear Submarines. According to a reader, they are training vessels: (Moored Training Ships, MTSs), for the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit at Charleston. Below is the description via Google Earth. The site is 12 miles from where they were arrested and in the direction from which they were driving.
Here is a very well guarded nuclear sub base up the Cooper River, north of Charleston SC. I found these subs up close during a Waverunner trip down the Cooper. I rode a bit too close to them, and was turned away by gunboats in the river, on guard 24/7. They are teeny fron this perspective, but when you are in the river with them... they are huge!!!! They are painted black, and are at the dock. There are two of them. You will also see the gunboats in the river, and the HUGE dockside hangar, that they are housed in at times. Hope you like this... and yes.. it must be a deep river!!!
If convicted of the charges, Youseff Megahed, 21, and Ahmed Mohamed, 24, could face between 2 to 15 years in prison.
DeWitt said the men were pulled over Saturday night on U.S. Highway 176 while driving more than 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. When an officer approached the car, he saw one of them men fold a laptop computer, which the officer believed was suspicious, DeWitt said.
The officer asked them if he could search the car, which the men agreed to. When he asked if there was anything in the car he should know about, the men said there were fireworks in the trunk.
Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed, 24, and Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, have been charged by authorities in South Carolina with possession of an incendiary advice, a felony punishable by at least two and up to fifteen years' imprisonment. AP quotes the sheriff as saying: "They admitted to having what they said were fireworks. Based on the officer's judgment at hand, based on what he had seen, we judged it to be other than fireworks." Authorities remain tight-lipped about exactly what they found in the car. Their bomb technicians did detonate something seized from the car at 2:45 a.m. Sunday.The two are engineering students at the University of South Florida's campus at Tampa — the same school where Prof. Sami al-Arian, while a computer science professor USF's College of Engineering, was running an outpost of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to provide services to PIJ.