AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO USE TORTURE…. A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto insisted that President Obama prefers a “see-no-evil approach,” has decided not to “worry so much about terrorism.”

It was, at the time, an unusually foolish observation, but given the Obama administration’s recent success stories on counter-terrorism, Taranto’s inane criticism continues to look even worse.

We learned of another success story this morning out of Dallas. (via Blue Girl)

A 19-year-old Jordanian citizen is expected to make an appearance before a federal magistrate in Dallas this morning after authorities accused him of attempting to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper.

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was arrested Thursday after he parked a vehicle laden with government-supplied fake explosives in the underground parking garage of Fountain Place, a 60-story tower in the 1400 block of Ross Avenue at North Field Street, authorities said.

The arrest was part of an FBI sting operation that began after an agent monitoring an online extremist Web site discovered Smadi espousing jihad against the U.S. more than six months ago.

As more undercover Arabic-speaking agents engaged him, Smadi, living illegally in the U.S. in the small town of Italy, about 45 miles south of Dallas, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and expressed a desire to kill Americans, authorities said.

In conversations with agents posing as members of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell, Smadi said he came to the U.S. to wage jihad, or holy war. He told agents he wanted to target military recruitment centers, but eventually settled on financial institutions.

Remember, Republicans openly mock those who believe intelligence gathering and law enforcement are the keys to counter-terrorism.

The story out of Dallas coincides with new reports out of Denver on the Najibullah Zazi case: “The accumulating evidence against a Denver airport shuttle driver suggests he may be different, with some investigators calling his case the most serious in years…. If government allegations are to be believed, Mr. Zazi, a legal immigrant from Afghanistan, had carefully prepared for a terrorist attack. He attended a Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, received training in explosives and stored in his laptop computer nine pages of instructions for making bombs from the same kind of chemicals he had bought.”

These stories come the same week as the arrest of Michael C. Finton, also known as Talib Islam, who was apprehended “attempting to detonate what he thought was a bomb inside a van outside a federal courthouse in the Illinois capital of Springfield.”

And of all this comes on the heels of U.S. forces taking out Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in Somalia, and Baitullah Mehsud, the top leader of the Taliban in Pakistan and a key al Qaeda ally.

To reiterate a point from a couple of weeks ago, if all of these developments had occurred in 2008, I suspect the White House would be releasing photos of Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol chest-bumping each other on the South Lawn.

Steve M. added, “Odd that this is all happening while we supposedly have a president who loves our enemies and hates America…. Isn’t it high time we demanded an explanation of this apparent contradiction from those who literally believe Obama is a treasonous America-hater?”

And Adam Serwer tweeted, “Somehow, the government foiled several terrorist plots this week without waterboarding anyone.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.