The FBI is announcing that it has broken up a planned attack by a "lone wolf" terrorist in Milwaukee.
FBI agents have interrupted what federal prosecutors describe as a planned mass shooting with automatic rifles at a Masonic Temple in downtown Milwaukee, it was announced Tuesday.
Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, 23, has been charged with possessing machine guns and a silencer. Despite indications of an attempted act of terrorism, Hamzeh is not charged with any terrorism counts. He appeared in federal court in Milwaukee Tuesday and remains in custody.
"We are Muslims, defending Muslim religion, we are on our own, my dear, we have organized our own group," Hamzeh said, according to the criminal complaint, later adding "And we will eliminate everyone" as he described in detail how he and others would attack the temple.
Hamzeh was planning to attack the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic, on N. Van Buren St., according to sources familiar with the case. Hamzeh had scouted out the temple by taking a tour and spoke in detail about how the attack would occur, the complaint said. A woman in the lobby of the temple Tuesday afternoon told a reporter Tuesday that the staff had no comment.
Hamzeh had been under investigation by the FBI since September 2015, using confidential informants close to him, who secretly recorded him, and undercover FBI agents, who arrested him this week.
One doesn't know what to make of this. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have a history of targeting Walter Mitty types and individuals with remarkably low intellect for terrorism arrests. One would think that marginally competent terrorists are more like the San Bernardino shooters who effectively shielded their intent from law enforcement. On the other hand, he has a a motive that is easily believable though jihadis branching out to attack a Masonic temple is certainly an new twist.