Germany's arrest of three alleged terrorists on Tuesday raised more than a few eyebrows in the counterterrorism community, and not merely because the suspected plot could have resulted in enormous explosions and mass casualties. Two of the suspects are German converts to Islam; one of them is even named "Fritz". Other German converts thought to be involved in the plot are reportedly still at large.
This is a very worrisome development. If the use of non-Arab converts is an emerging trend rather than an outlier in the data, identifying would-be terrorists just got a whole lot harder. Asked about the foiled attack at Tuesday's event to discuss the 2007 Terrorism Index, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey warned, "There's going to be a lot of effort by the terrorist groups to recruit people who don't look as if they're Arabs or from the Middle East. We're going to see more and more of this."
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