Back in the day, when I ran an NGO in a country that will remain nameless, people came to me all the time to ask me to give them money to help them implement their ideas.
It was my job to sort through these proposals, looking for a few kernels of wheat amid bushels of chaff.
Most of the ideas were impractical, poorly thought out, pointless or a combination thereof. The appellants themselves were usually corrupt, sometimes earnest but more often incompetent and almost always incapable of doing the job they proposed to do. I often said to myself in these meetings "how stupid do they think I am?" Actually, sometimes I said that aloud. (Though in fairness, when you see some of the stupid ideas that do get funded, you can't blame people for asking).
As I read the news this morning, I thought of guys who give money to terrorists to help them carry out their ideas.
One law enforcement official played down Mr. Defreitas’s ability to carry out an attack, calling him “a sad sack” and “not a Grade A terrorist....”
But the official said that Mr. Defreitas’s efforts to enlist Jamaat al-Muslimeen’s aid could have had devastating consequences.
“They didn’t have the money and they didn’t have the bombs,” the official said of the suspects, “but if we let it go it could have gotten there; they could have gotten the J.A.M. fully involved, and we wouldn’t know where it could have gone.”
Anyone who controls the purse strings of a grant-giving organization can identify a "sad sack," whether he's planning a terror attack on JFK airport or a creating an election monitoring organization. Does the leader of J.A.M., Hezbollah or LeT or even OBL himself have to deal with the same problems? If I ever met someone from a terrorist funding organization, I think I would ask this question.