Phase one: The hyper-ventilating gullibility:
Three Palestinian men were arrested by the FBI with assistance from Detroit and other local law enforcement. They were suspected of planning to attack the Mackinac Bridge in norther Michigan which links the upper and lower penninsulas and is one of the largest bridges in North America.
Phase two: Reality sets in:
Meanwhile, Michigan officials kept three Texans locked up even after Michigan state police and FBI officials said they were apparently wide-eyed tourists rather than would-be terrorists when they photographed the Mackinac Bridge.
The men -- brothers Adham Othman, 21, of Dallas and Louai Othman, 23, of Mesquite, and their cousin Awad Muhareb, 18, of Mesquite -- were stopped by police Friday outside a Wal-Mart store in Caro with about 1,000 cellphones in their van.
Local prosecutors charged them with collecting or providing materials for terrorist acts and surveillance of a vulnerable target for terrorist purposes.
The FBI questioned them for several hours after their arrest, then released a statement saying that "there is no imminent threat" to the bridge, which links Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas.
State Police Director Col. Peter Munoz said Monday that the men "may have been involved in some other fraudulent activities, but there is no nexus to terrorism or a terrorist threat."
Authorities in both states feared the cell phones could be used in terrorism attacks -- such phones were used in 2004 to detonate terrorist bombs in Madrid. But relatives and friends of the men called them innocent entrepreneurs buying cheap phones for marked-up resale. They were targeted, supporters said, because of their Arab heritage.
Phase three: The sheepish retraction.
HAHAHAHAHAHA! You were actually waiting for phase three, weren't you? Suckers.