With the Fort Hood mass murderer, the Christmas pantybomber and now the Times Square bomber, you may have noticed a little uptick in attempted terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland in the last few months. Rep. Lamar Smith did, and at the House Judiciary Committee, was interested to see if U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. thought there might be any factor in common between these perplexingly diverse incidents.

"In the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam," said Mr. Smith, Texas Republican. "Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?"

"Because of ...?"

"Radical Islam," repeated Mr. Smith.

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