We understand why the local papers want to make a big deal of Bryant Neal Vinas of Patchogue, New York
, whose federal indictment on charges of helping Al Qaeda was made public today
-- you know, hometown boy makes good and all that. But it doesn't seem as if Vinas accomplished much as a traitor. The complaint says that while jihading in Afghanistan, Vinas did "conspire to kill one or more nationals of the United States" via a rocket attack on a U.S. military base, but there's no indication that he actually killed anybody. The complaint also says he gave his fellow terrorists knowledge of the New York subway and LIRR that they could use to kill Americans, but it appears that the U.S. thwarted that plot with information supplied by Vinas himself
after he was apprehended last year in Pakistan. In fact, Vinas is said to be cooperating fully with authorities, putting his Al Qaeda experience to anti-terrorist use. John Walker Lindh
he's not. Given that he left home when he was 18 and never returned, his mother seems oddly detached from him ("I don't know nothing about him"), and he has no background of modish anti-establishment sentiments, maybe he's been a double agent all along.