What do terrorists have against D.C. restaurants?


Washington, D.C., being the seat of the federal government, has no shortage of tactical and symbolic targets for terrorism — the Pentagon, White House, U.S. Capitol, Federal Reserve, J. Edgar Hoover Building, C.I.A. headquarters, and any number of monuments. Indeed, some of those have been targeted in the past. But that doesn't mean we can rule more mundance locations — namely, local restaurants.


Washingtonian's Garrett Graff reported late yesterday that Amine El Khalifi, recently arrested by the FBI for allegedly plotting to bomb the Capitol building, "first scouted Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill, a power-lunch-friendly French restaurant in the Hotel George, before deciding on what he thought was a better target: the Italian restaurant Aria."

One can see the attraction — to a budding suicide bomber, anyway — of both spots. Bistro Bis is frequented by politicians and power-brokers, while the hotel above could boost the death toll. Aria Pizzeria & Bar, with its expansive outdoor seating, is a popular spot with federal workers during the warmer months, and "attached to the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, DC's largest office building," Graff writes, noting that the building houses the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters.

Last October, you may recall, the Iranian-American suspect arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington had considered doing so by bombing a restaurant where the ambassador regularly dines — most like Café Milano in Georgetown, according to the Reliable Source.

I left a message for Aria's general manager, and the office line at Bistro Bis rang endlessly. I'll update this post if I hear back.


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