Moroccan Man Thought He’d Be Suicide Bombing the Capitol Building Today

Tourists walk past the U.S. Capitol building, on February 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. Earlier today the FBI arrested a man with possible ties to al-Qaeda, for plotting to blow up the U.S. Capitol building in an apparent suicide attack.
Still intact! Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The best-laid plans of mice and would-be terrorists:

The FBI has arrested a man who authorities said thought he was going to carry out a bombing attack on the U.S. Capitol building but was in fact dealing with FBI undercover operatives for the past few months.

The man, said by law enforcement officials to be from Morocco and in his late 20s, was arrested about noon ET Friday near the Capitol after he received what he thought was a vest containing explosives. In fact, it had inert material that wasn't hazardous.

Some will inevitably belittle the seriousness of foiled attacks like this one (see Gawker, for one example), claiming that law enforcement makes terrorists out of people who wouldn't have otherwise acted on their terrorist-y impulses. Indeed, according to MSNBC, "Officials said they doubted" that the man arrested today —  an illegal immigrant who had overstayed his visa — "could have pulled off the attack by himself." But why risk it? Should we just cross our fingers and hope a guy willing to carry out a suicide mission doesn't find the motivation to go through with it?