Of course, according to the eleven-page indictment distributed at the news conference, the group didn't have any weapons or explosives. And their al Qaeda contact to whom they allegedly pledged allegiance and asked for $50,000 in funding was in fact a federal informant.
These guys weren't even being scouted for the al Qaeda farm league. But many of the reporters just didn't seem to get it.
"Was al Qaeda on its way to responding? What kind of feedback did they get?" a female reporter asked, successfully screaming over her colleagues.
"I'm sorry I don't understand," Acosta replied.
"They asked for money. They asked for weapons. What kind of feedback did they get from al Qaeda?"
Acosta replied that, uh, well, no, al Qaeda was never actually contacted.
"How did they get the $50,000 [from al Qaeda]?" another female reporter queried.
"I'm sorry?" Acosta replied, again baffled by the question.
"You mentioned $50,000," the reporter said.
Acosta replied again that, uh, well, no, al Qaeda was never actually contacted.
Following the twenty-minute news conference, officials filed out of the room. Dressed in his crisp, blue police uniform and shiny black shoes, Chief Timoney stepped down from the dais. Reporters surrounded him. Timoney offered vague answers to specific questions, his booming voice filling the room. Al Qaeda, Timoney explained, has morphed from a top-down organization into a group with independently functioning parts.
Then the chief glanced around the room, clearly distracted. Osama bin Laden, it seemed, was the least of the chief's concerns.
The elevator opened.
Timoney pointed. "Is that going down?" he asked as a New Timesreporter stepped in beside him.
"Thank God!" Timoney said as the elevator doors closed. "I've got a parade to run. I can't be bothered with this [terrorism] stuff."