U.S. terror attack was averted -- this time

An undated Twitter profile picture, left, allegedly shows An undated Twitter profile picture, left, allegedly shows Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, from Bangladesh, who was arrested in New York for trying to detonate what he believed was a 1,000 pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York building in Lower Manhattan, Department of Justice officials said. (Oct. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / TWITTER ; Getty Images

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

This is the way it's supposed to work.

The would-be terrorist is discovered early in his plotting. His schemes are recorded every step of the way. His bomb's a phony. His cohorts are on the FBI payroll. Evil as his motives appear to be, the public is never in danger from beginning to end.

And now, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, the accused Federal Reserve bomb plotter, stands charged with repeatedly trying to detonate a fake 1,000-pound car bomb outside the headquarters of the American dollar.

Through some combination of investigative skill, perpetrator incompetence and simple luck, disaster was averted again.

But it won't always be. So many people wish us harm and we choose to live so openly -- someone, somewhere is bound to slip through.

And when that happens, as inevitably it will, what will that do to us?

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Will we come together, as we did after 9/11, and then stay together, as we did not? In fear, will we surrender the freedom and openness we so treasure?

Will we find a way to punish the perpetrator and not the innocent? Will we be proud of ourselves when we look back?

After this latest arrest, we don't have to face such difficult questions. Not immediately we don't.

But we will. We will.

PREP COURSE

@Newsday

1. Security cameras

2. Extra guards

3. Retina scans

4. Building sign-ins

5. Remembering what makes us better than our enemies

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LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK: THE HOFSTRA HOSTS

The rancor still lingers from Tuesday's debate. The candidates, the moderator, the questioners -- let them all be second-guessed. One result wasn't debatable at all: The students, faculty, administrators and staff of Hofstra University hosted a truly first-class event. Coddling many oversized egos. Satisfying tight-deadline demands. Offering big-league facilities with genuine hospitality. Ensuring that a national audience of 65 million got the well-produced show that they deserved. Don't blame them if the candidates still stumbled or the Gallup-picked questioners seemed clueless. They did our part and then some. And don't be surprised if the 2016 presidential campaign includes a Hofstra debate. Why go anywhere else?

Email ellis@henican.com

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