On the same day a federal appeals court panel in San Francisco ruled unanimously against President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the FBI arrested a California man for plotting a Christmas terror attack in that same city.
The man, former U.S. Marine Everitt Aaron Jameson, was taken into custody Friday morning for allegedly plotting to set off explosives at San Francisco’s Pier 39 on behalf of the Islamic State group, according to Bay Area station KPIX.
“Jameson allegedly detailed his plans for the terror attack with an undercover FBI agent whom he believed was associated with the senior leadership of ISIS,” reported KPIX. “The alleged plot involved setting off explosives remotely in one area of Pier 39 and then mowing people down with automatic rifle fire as they fled.”
Later that same day, the very liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the president’s travel ban, accusing Trump of exceeding “the scope of his delegated authority.”
To be clear, the court’s decision “will have no immediate effect because of a temporary ruling the Supreme Court issued earlier this month allowing the administration to fully implement the ban as it appealed a pair of injunctions issued against the policy,” as reported by Politico.
Moreover, Jameson is a U.S. citizen, meaning the president’s travel ban wouldn’t have directly affected him anyway.
What remains unclear is how Jameson became radicalized and with whom he regularly associated.
The criminal complaint filed by the FBI against Jameson says only that he “espoused radical jihadi beliefs, including authoring social media posts that are supportive of terrorism, communicating with people he believes share his jihadi views and offering to provide services to such people.”
The key term there is “jihadi,” which Oxford Dictionaries defines as “an Islamic militant,” i.e., a disciple of the same sick ideology the president hopes to prevent from infiltrating the United States.
As noted earlier this year by Andrew McCarthy in a column for National Review, Trump’s travel ban specifically targets Islam “(b)ecause the United States is in a defensive war against sharia supremacism.”
“Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called ‘radical Islam,’” McCarthy wrote. “The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores.
“The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.”
No one knows for sure when Jameson began to be radicalized, but it does raise an interesting question: had Trump’s ban been in effect before Jameson began to be radicalized — to be clear, we’re not sure yet when that occurred — is it possible whatever radical Islamic ideas he absorbed may have never even reached him in the first place?
Again, this is just speculation. Too much is unknown about Jameson’s actions and motivation at the moment for us to reach any definitive conclusions.
But just the very notion that Trump’s ban — which a Bay Area court ruled against — might have prevented Jameson from ever being radicalized in the first place ought to be food for thought for every American concerned about the influence of radical Islam.