Prosecutors have tried to prove Mr. Padilla’s guilt with a training camp application they say he filled out and wiretapped phone conversations in which he took part or was discussed. But they have no witnesses who saw Mr. Padilla fill out the form, and the phone recordings make him sound more troubled than malign. They suggest Mr. Padilla, a former gang member in Chicago and fast-food worker in South Florida, struggled to fit in and learn Arabic in Egypt, where he moved in 1998.
“Basically, he is a slow learner,” one of Mr. Padilla’s associates told another in 1999, five months after he arrived in Cairo. “Basically, he doesn’t want to speak. I mean, the man doesn’t … doesn’t move.”
There’s a difference between incompetence and complacency. Nevertheless, Padilla’s inefficacy puts us in mind of this great Onion article.
Mysteries, Legal and Sartorial, at Padilla Trial [New York Times]
After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack [The Onion]