AP_899153571026The other shoe has dropped in the San Bernardino investigation.  You may remember that Enrique Marquez was a person of interest in the FBI’s investigation of the terrorist attack by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik; Marquez told the FBI that Farook had been planning something since at least 2012.  This raised eyebrows, because there seemed no immediately obvious reason then why Marquez shouldn’t be arrested himself… and now it turns out that that he will be. The New York Times reports that the charges include material support for terrorism, immigration fraud, and making false statements while purchasing a firearm. All of this is in relation to the abortive 2012 attempt; Marquez is apparently still not considered a suspect in the current attacks.

Well, at least not officially or publicly.  It could very well be that Enrique Marquez was involved, and is cooperating with prosecutors in the hopes of avoiding the needle… what? Oh, yes: it may startle some of you to hear that the judicial moratorium on capital punishment in California was overturned last month by the 9th Circuit.  Could a prosecutor make a first-degree murder charge with special circumstances charge stick to a guy who helped plan out a jihadist attack on American soil? Let’s not be coy: of course a prosecutor could.  And go ask Dzhokhar Tsarnaev whether or not it’s impossible to get a death penalty conviction for terrorism in a liberal state.

But that’s speculation.  What we do know is that Enrique Marquez has been a self-confessed accessory to Farook for years.  And all we needed to do was look… which makes it downright insane that we were not only not catching evidence of any of the abortive and successful operations that Farook and Malik were involved in; we were, reportedly, deliberately not even looking. Becausing doing so would have made people mad.  I will freely note that the relevant government agencies involved are vigorously pushing back on that particular story, not least because it’s a potential careers-ender.  Note the plural: it’s the kind of scandal that would have a no-fooling blast radius.

To sum up this entire mess?  …Our counter-terrorism strategy has apparently been rotting since, oh, I don’t know: 2009, or so.  And the people who made it that way should leave government service now and go… do anything that will keep them out of the way of other, more competent people. Because this entire thing was an avoidable failure.