With all this talk of declassified interrogation memos and whether or not to prosecute, it is worth noting that today in Germany the trial of Fritz Gelowicz and three others begins. Who is Fritz Gelowicz, you may ask?
He is an accused terrorist who’s been jailed in Germany since September 2007. With his blond hair and blue eyes, he doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold of Islamic extremism we came to picture after 9/11. Yet he and his cohorts, the Sauerland group, were trained in Pakistan and arrested 19 months ago for plotting terror attacks in Germany using liquid hydrogen peroxide bombs.
According to German publication “Speigel Online,” the radicalized German natives were targeting “discos and bars “with American sluts” and the “prestige target” of the US air base Ramstein.”
Spiegel refers to the trial as “Germany’s biggest terror trial since the 9/11 attacks.”
This trial is a success story about a real plot disrupted. It is the story of teamwork and traditional intelligence and law enforcement. The CIA played a major role as did the rest of the counterterrorism community. The Transportation Security Administration, for instance, deployed more teams of air marshals to cover select trans-Atlantic flights, just as it had done in the summer of 2006, when the London liquid bomb plot was a national security concern.
It is worth remembering amid all the abstract policy discussion that terrorism is a real and continuing concern. It is also worth remembering this success in Germany.
Ellen Howe is a Vice President at Adfero Group. She formerly served as Assistant Administrator of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration.