There were conflicting assessments among U.S. counterterrorism officials about the significance of the plot.
Two U.S. counterterrorism officials, speaking on the condition that their names and agencies not be identified because the FBI is the government’s lead agency, discounted the ability of the conspirators to carry out an attack.
One said the plot was “not as far along” as described and was “more aspirational in nature.” The other described the threat as “jihadi bravado,” adding “somebody talks about tunnels, it lights people up,” but that there was little activity to back up the talk.
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Like the plot announced yesterday, the Miami group’s plans were described by investigators as “aspirational.”
The Miami group had a leg up on this newest bunch; its members were actually in the country.