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Is there a terror plot to blow up the Mackinac Bridge?

Andrew Norton

Update: See this post for the news that there is not any evidence linking these three men to a terror plot involving the Mackinac Bridge. Three Texas men of Middle Eastern heritage were picked up by authorities in Caro after purchasing 80 prepaid cell phones at a local Wal-Mart. Upon their arrest around 1,000 prepaid cell phones were found in their van along with photos of the Mackinac Bridge.

Mackinac Bridge linking Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas

Does an overabundance of prepaid cell phones and pictures of the Mackinac Bridge mean that the world's third-largest suspension bridge is a target for possible terrorism? It is still too early to tell. There is already public outcry from the Arab and Muslim population about ethnic profiling being the real reason these men were picked up.

I don't care what color or religion you are. I would be suspicious of a white guy in an expensive three-piece suit if he was purchasing 80 prepaid cell phones. The three men and their families are stating that this was merely a business venture. They were purchasing cell phones to sell back in Texas for a profit.

The bombs in Madrid, Spain in 2004 were detonated using cell phones. I don't blame the Wal-Mart employee and local authorities for being suspicious. The media would have their heads if they had done nothing and something horrific had happened such as the Mackinac Bridge being blown up.

A relative of the three men, Ala Mustafa, was quoted by CBS 11TV (a Texas CBS affiliate) as saying, “I want to congratulate them, that small town in Michigan. Congratulations you got the spot in the media and the whole world. Everybody knows your town now. Release those guys, they are innocent.”

I am pretty sure that the Tuscola County law enforcement officials are not in cohorts with the local chamber of commerce in some grand scheme for national publicity that involves arresting innocent people in order to be mentioned by the national media.

I really do hope that there is not a plot to destroy the Mackinac Bridge. If the only thing these guys are guilty of is purchasing cheap cell phones and selling them for more money to folks who don't know they can get the same deal at Wal-Mart - I am okay with that. I am not yet ready to live in a country where acts of terrorism are a daily occurrence.

Via the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.